Restaurants with swanky décor with the state-of-the-art lightings are plenty in numbers across Delhi NCR. But, that with rustic, earthy interior, slightly softened with dim lights and silhouettes of white draperies, overlooking a tropical setting outside emulates a rare, way-far-from-the-hustling-city dining experience. Located amidst the greenery of Vatika Towers, Gurgaon, this restaurant, Impromptu, is beautifully divided into two parts – one air-conditioned inside outlet and an al fresco, green dining area outside.
And one of those masterminds whose relentless thought processes and hard work went behind carving this outwardly dining experience of Impromptu is Ankur Arora, who also embodies the source of inspirations of many budding restaurateurs. We recently had a heart-to-heart conversation with him when he unveiled the “Impromptu” plans of opening the restaurant. And that was just the beginning, from then Ankur went on to sharing his valuable ideas, perspectives, and tips on restaurant setup, management, licensing process, upcoming trends and transformation in the restaurant industry and much more. But above all, he brought his secrets to achieve repeat customers and ensure maximum customer satisfaction to light which is pure golden. So, why don't you keep scrolling to keep you up-to-date?
POSist: First of all, thanks a ton for giving your valuable time and congratulation on your success of your restaurant venture. Would you kindly share how it started and what were your initial challenges?
Ankur Arora: Since the idea of opening the restaurant was spontaneous, so we kept the name “Impromptu”. Initial challenges we faced were finding the best locations and the rentals which need to be justified. And there comes the licensing part – which was quite long drawn out.
POSist: What are your views on the recent restaurant licensing process with a focus on hospitality and dining?
Ankur Arora: The biggest challenge (or setbacks, if you call it) is that after so much hard work, the large scale of revenues yielded and job opportunities we create as restaurateurs, the govt. still, has not declared restaurant segment as an independent industry.
Till the time it does not happen, obtaining a license will always be a challenge. Restaurateurs need to procure more than 15 different licenses / NOC to open an outlet. Half of them are actually irrelevant and not required but, there is no one to look into this matter.
POSist: How do you ensure customers enjoy the seamless dining experience at a restaurant?
Ankur Arora: Well, in this regard, I believe we need to get down to the basics – give your customers a great ambiance to sit and feel special, a smart attendant who can understand their needs, top quality food and that’s it!
POSist: What are your views on the transformation in the taste of customers in India?
Ankur Arora: Well, we can say that finally, we have come to a stage where our palate is ready for some kind of experimentation with both, our existing cuisines and new world cuisines. The major driving forces that ushered transformation would probably be the changes in people’s lifestyle and Indians’ growing familiarity to foreign cuisines resulting from their extensive tours to many parts of the world.
POSist: True, well said Ankur. So, what are the upcoming food trends to look forward to in future?
Ankur Arora: Well, more and more new world cuisines are catching up and amongst those, Cuban, Peruvian, and South American shall be on a rise.
And in terms of restaurant settings, I think new and upcoming trends would be ‘Pop-up restaurants’. Nowadays with plenty of options available at customers’ disposal, it is very tough to get the same customers visiting our eatery over and over again. But, ‘Pop-up spaces’ will keep customers attracting and also, guessing what we are going to do next.
POSist: Currently, the restaurant industry has witnessed a significant shift from fine dining to smart, casual dining, driven by growing base of young consumers – what do you think the future scope of growth lies in fine and casual dining sectors of Indian restaurant industry?
Ankur Arora: The demography of heavy spenders has changed from 35-year old to 25-year old consumers. People in 20’s want things very casual. At that, casual restaurants create the space and dining experience what they seek and feel in sync with. Also, the new generation of young entrepreneurs who are heavy spenders and frequent diners are contributing to the rising popularity of casual dining restaurants. Their preferences in casual dining over fine dining seem to establish the dominance of the former over the later – thus, shaping the trend of Indian restaurant industry.
POSist: What types of restaurant technologies are necessary to automate operations, accelerate customer acquisition and sustain rising competition?
Ankur Arora: Social media, online feedback tracker, and online restaurant database software are a must. We must remember that the growth of a restaurant majorly depends upon the efficacy of the restaurant management system. A restaurant needs to be more automated, process-driven and relies lesser on manual procedures to ensure rapid succeed. Also, the faster the restaurateurs innovate and improvise the operations along with the changing trends and customers’ expectations – the higher a restaurant will grow.