In a telephonic interview, Arushi Gupta, Director BOA (Best of Asia) Village spoke about the concept behind her restaurants, how personalization is imperative for any restaurateur and why she prefers to keep off the trends.
How do you come up with the concepts of your restaurants?
I have always been a creative person. I have also studied Interior designing. Whenever you create something, you can’t control the fact that how people will like it. I don’t want to get into the judgment of people but into the personalization aspect to it. This field requires direct contact with the customers. You need to know if the customers are liking your offerings or not. It is imperative to incorporate opinion of your customers.
I started with Ambrosia Bliss. The name itself suggests “The food of the gods.” The interior was inspired by architecture in Persia and Morocco. Another restaurant that we have is BOA (Best of Asia). In Delhi we have a lot of restaurants serving pan Asian food. People usually perceive pan Asian to be Oriental, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean. However, the concept of BOA was to offer each and every cuisine that Asia has including India, Indonesia, and Pakistan.
Other restaurant we have is ‘The Dining Room’, which is a multi cuisine restaurant and serves only Vegetarian food. We did some research and got the idea that most of the people in the area are from jain and Baniya communities and that is why we decided to come up with this. We procure the vegetables directly from the farmers. The theme behind the name ‘The Dining Room’ was to make customers feel at home.
Are any other projects lined up?
We are coming up with three more restaurants in Hudson Lane. Curry Bowl, Café Nona, IFML (International Food, Music, and Liquor) and the heritage bake company will be opened up after Diwali. For Curry Bowl, we have decided to incorporate age old recipes. For example, we have Dal Makhani, which earlier was cooked for hours. We are working on the menu and are planning to include regional dishes from across the country. The menu will be based on the authentic regional food. All these restaurants have interiors similar to high end restaurants but since, Hudson lane has basically students crowd, so we have to decide the pricing according to that. The IMFL pub will have a vibrant interior. The flooring for it has been designed to imitate the roads, for example it has Zebra Crossing and red light. We are basically waiting for the license and soon after Diwali we are going to launch these. We are planning to enter to other metropolitan cities. We are looking to expand the outlets of BOA and Ambrosia restaurants.
Since, so many high end restaurants are coming up, how challenging is it to manage operations? And what survival strategies you incorporate?
What I observe is that people in this industry usually tend to follow the trends. For example, most of the restaurants or cafes you go play live music these days but we don’t have live music in any of our restaurants. I first see what kind of people we are serving and what our target audience is. My customers don’t like loud music. In this industry people have forgotten the concept of personalization. People often ask me to have a live music in BOA, since we have an open roof restaurant, but this restaurant is not meant for this.
How do you decide the menus of your restaurants and how often do you make changes in it?
After three years we have revamped our menus now. We do have extensions to our menus during festivals. For example, we are coming up with the beer sushi, and Dimsums festival. In this we will have a wide variety of beer and the price starts from Rs 90 to Rs 2000 of a single pint.
How have been the footfalls? If you could give me some figures?
In a day, I cater to 400-500 people on week days in one restaurant. On weekends, the number goes almost double.