Professionally a graduate in hotel management from IHM Aurangabad, Abhishek Singh went on for his training in Taj and JW Marriott. After returning to Delhi he joined a business development company where he learned the nuances of running a business and later utilized his learnings and his love for food for building what is today known as Cafe Amsterdam.
In Conversation With Abhishek Singh Of Cafe Amsterdam
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Abhishek Singh talks about his venture, the importance of location, the role of maintaining hygiene standards, staff management and a lot more!
Story Behind Cafe Amsterdam
‘My elder sisters live in Amsterdam, and we often visit her there. Amsterdam is known for its delicious food and we thought to bring the local cuisine to India through Cafe Amsterdam,’ says Singh. The quaint little cafe is known for its vibes and attractive interiors and serves authentic Dutch Continental cuisine – the first of its kind in Delhi NCR, as per Singh. ‘We dont call it Cafe Amsterdam just for the sake of it; we maintain authenticity in everything, importing ingredients as well. It is a recluse for people who crave for a vacation to Amsterdam,’ Singh adds.
We have the washroom at the extreme end, for which customers have to cross the live- kitchen wearing a chef cap. This gives them a chance to view the entire process of food preparation, and how we maintain our hygiene standards. We make sure that the process of dining-in at Cafe Amsterdam becomes a journey for the customers rather than a mere visit.
– Abhishek Singh, Founder of Cafe Amsterdam
Importance of Location
According to Singh, once a restaurant business and the idea behind it gets conceptualized all the focus then shifts to finding an ideal location where the new venture can thrive. Location plays a major role in the success of a restaurant and the site needs to be decided on the basis of the setup.
The first and foremost is to analyze that a restaurant is located in an accessible area rather than only at a prime area. Accessibility is crucial, as it helps to get the volume of people one needs to sustain the business. One has to understand the difference between the two to get through the right location.
‘Many restaurateurs strive to find the location on the main road, however, there are many factors that need to be considered along with this. People visit restaurants to chill and relax, and main roads can be distracting due to the noise and busy streets. Also, when located on the main road, finding accessible parking can become difficult,’ says Singh.
People visit a restaurant to enjoy the ambiance and interiors, but at the end of the day, it is mainly about food. This is determined by the concept of PQP that is Price, Quality, and Portion. If these are balanced then no one can stop the brand from being successful.
‘Cafe Amsterdam is located in Kalkaji, which is not a very posh area. But, Kalkaji has a huge population and a diverse audience base. So we focused on attaining flagship through the local crowd. It is essential to understand that even a local market population can form a strong clientele,’ says Singh.
Maintaining Kitchen Hygiene Standards
The importance of maintaining hygiene standards in restaurants cannot be stressed enough. Hygiene in restaurants is not just vital to ensure the health and safety of the employees and customers, but also plays a crucial role in building the brand image of the restaurant. According to Singh, for having healthy food on the menu, it is not compulsory to have expensive ingredients. One can prepare hygienic and healthy item without them by making sure that the preparation of food suffices all criteria of cleanliness and sanitation.
Aside from motivating staff to wash and then dry their hands regularly, hand sanitizers should always be accessible. The quality and cleanliness of the washroom facilities can also impact customer experience, and therefore affect the revenue and reputation of a brand.
‘Ensure regular cleaning of all areas. Never compromise with the professional deep clean, which should be done at least twice a year to avoid building up of embedded dirt,’ says Singh.
According to Singh, staff management is the most fundamental point to be guided in a restaurant. The team is the engine that drives a restaurant brand towards success. But it is the work of the owners and managers to guide the team in the right direction. New crisis pops up in a restaurant at the drop of a hat. The only people available to monitor such issues are the staff, and hence they should always be trained well and also acknowledged for all that they do.
Transparency is a crucial aspect of restaurant management. The young generation millennial employees, in particular, always want to know about the happenings in the restaurant. So it is essential to satiate their need to feeling connected and being a part of something more substantial. If transparency is efficiently fostered amongst the employees, they will have a sense of belonging and be motivated to perform their best.
The restaurant space has changed dramatically since the advent of technology. According to Singh, the benefits a restaurant brand can enjoy by implementing a POS restaurant software are immense. POS software can streamline all essential restaurant tasks, from the Back of the House to the Front of the House. It helps save time and money by increasing efficiency and automating many essential tasks. Hence, Point-of-sale software is a must-have for restaurant brands now.
‘We use POSist at Cafe Amsterdam. POSist has been like a life-saver for us since it is a very convenient solution. The entire process of training a new member in the team on how the software works is very simple. It has further helped us in managing and compiling all the customer data. POSist has also made the entire process of billing very easy as it generates instant Kitchen Order Tickets which saves time for us and offers smooth transfer between tables,’ says Singh.
Singh concludes by sharing his plans that within one year down the line, Cafe Amsterdam will be seen as a big casual dining restaurant in Delhi itself. ‘Through Cafe Amsterdam, we would want to bring out to the customers a complete 2.0 version of Amsterdam within the four walls of a restaurant brand,’ says Singh.