Founder of Duty Free bar and restaurateur, Varun Puri's previous ventures are the proof of him mastering the trademark and exhibiting perfect craftsmanship.
In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Varun Puri talks about his ventures in the industry and the techniques that help a restaurant grow.
Imly, Lights Camera Action and Duty Free - How do you come up with the names of your restaurants?
When it comes to choosing the names, it’s always about what I want to put across to my audience as a brand and what clicks or appeals. Basically, people usually think of a name and then do a concept around it. But, ours are more conceptualised outlets. We think of a name in accordance with what a concept of a restaurant is. ‘Imly’ came from how street food usually has something sour and imly is a key ingredient and, hence, the name. Similarly, LCA (Lights Camera Action) for a Bollywood concept restaurant and then Duty Free’s idea is of a wholesale bar.
How do you create an everlasting impression on the consumers' mind?
With our loyalty programmes! We've tie-ups with all the third parties like Dineout, Nearbuy, Magicpin, etc. With the support of our tech partners, we get to know our customers’ database. So, when they visit our outlet we know their preferences as per the database, their previous visits and everything. And we, accordingly, maintain loyalty programmes.
The idea behind adding top dishes from your other restaurants to the menu of Duty Free?
We know what the Imly and Too Indian outlets are known for and what are the most-loved dishes there. For instance, Nalli Nihari at Too Indian and Palak Patta at Imly are popular cuisines; we've not shied away from adding these to our menu at Duty Free.
To say the least, these are our signature dishes, and we get praise for them. In addition to the new dishes that we have on our menu, we never fail to put in the ones that are our trademark or signature dishes. And we will hopefully continue to do the same with our upcoming stores and brands.
What are the new techniques in food that help a restaurant grow?
When it comes to techniques that help a restaurant grow is first and foremost - knowing your clientele and understand their requirements and taste obviously! But another one that's really doing good at this point in time is taking the mainstreams to another level. Modern Indian approach is coming in trend. What has already been done before is happening with you - know a twist or a new face. How so many restaurants around us that are actually doing well is going by the same approach is what I feel.
How do you see the food trends in India?
To answer this in short, I feel India is heading back to its roots. You know like, we're truly going back to where we started off from. For instance, organic ingredients are back in trends and are a hit with the audience. We're going back to the farm to store products. All the known people in the industry all the renowned chefs have gone back to where we belong.