Prior to opening Pho King, Bhavya had been in the catering business for almost six years. At that point, his friend and Co-Founder (the Gastronomical Genius behind the food), Mukul approached him as he was looking to come back to India after an extremely successful stint in Australia. Mukul, is a Hospitality graduate who was part of the opening team of the iconic 360 degrees restaurant at the Oberois, who later went to do his Masters from Le Cordon Bleu Australia; subsequently he opened and ran restaurants for many celebrity chefs in Australia. Mukul is also an accomplished sommelier who has hands on experience in running vineyards as well. “The inspiration for Pho King came from Mukul's wife who is Vietnamese, we brainstormed and came up with the name and started from a small take away counter in GK1,” shared Kohli for whom the rest, as they say, is history. Excerpts from the interview:
What are the different types of cuisines served at your restaurant?
With a state of the art Kitchen, Pho King’s menu has been crafted by Master Chefs from across the world to ensure an authentic gourmet experience. We have an innovative menu of Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian and Pan Asian cuisines prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients.
How difficult it is to run a multi cuisine restaurant?
Not very if you are equally focused on all the different cuisines that you are offering. The restaurant business in itself is one of the toughest businesses to run and requires a lot of passion, dedication and almost obsessive focus for it to even have a chance of being successful.
Who is your target customer?
We truly believe that with Pho King we have managed to create an offering which appeals to all age groups and demographics; from the urban young, to the office goer, to the family crowd we cater to everyone. The food, ambience and music is all paired to ensure a truly relaxed outing where conversation reigns supreme.
What is the average footfall?
It's different for different outlets as the restaurant sizes vary. In Saket, for example, we do approx 350 covers every day, which doubles on weekends. In Gurgaon (which is 1/6th the size of Saket), we average about 60 covers a day.
Now that you are running three outlets. Which is your top performing outlet?
Champa Gali is where we started out from and that is our top performer. Gurgaon is only 4 months old and is seeing very robust month on month growth. Hauz Khas Village has just opened and we have big plans for this outlet going forward.
How about designing the restaurants. What are the elements that you take care?
My job is to ensure that all the restaurants follow the same brand theme and all the major elements of a Pho King restaurant are highlighted in their various avatars. An existing customer should ideally walk into a different Pho King outlet and immediately feel at home; that remains my endeavor.
How do you decide on a location when opening a new outlet?
Location is key in this cut throat. We try and analyze the potential of a location rather than current status. We made a huge bet with Champa Gali and that has sort of been our decision making process with the other outlets as well. Hauz Khas Village is a franchise business, so the location was already taken before we entered the picture.
What is your expansion plan?
We are planning to open 10 more new outlets this year, as a part of company’s rapid expansion plan. It intends to embed its roots in cities like Noida, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Goa, Jaipur, Bangalore and Kolkata. After establishing ourselves in Delhi/NCR, we are now set to reach more states where all the 10 outlets will be operated by the company. We entered the market with the vision of authentic food and fresh menu and will continue to do so.