1950s North Indian Fare Makes a Comeback with Daryaganj

Amit Bagga, Co-Founder & CEO, Daryaganj Restaurant, originates from a family dealing in the automobile business. He has been in the hospitality industry for ten years now. Amit was always very enthusiastic about the restaurant industry and wanted to make a career in the same. Daryaganj Restaurant, a North Indian cuisine restaurant, was conceptualised with the principle of celebrating the culinary legacy of Late Kundan Lal Jaggi and the resilience and innovation of the Hindu Punjabi refugees. It creates best in class dining experiences evocative of a bygone era. Amit makes sure all the five senses of a patron are engaged positively, and they end up having a memorable experience at Daryaganj!

In Conversation With Amit Bagga Of Daryaganj

In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Amit Bagga talks of his journey in the industry, the story behind Daryaganj, ensuring corporate social responsibility, and a lot more.

Inspiration Behind Daryaganj

Daryaganj is conceptualised to celebrate the legacy of Raghav Jaggi’s ( Founder and Promoter) grandfather, who was one of the pioneers of the Tandoori cuisine and often credited for making it famous all over the globe.

“There was a time when I realized that there were a lot of bars and pubs opening in Delhi but there was no one in the market serving classic north Indian cuisine. Majority of them were doing continental or fusion food. In order to fill the void in the market, we thought of coming up with classic North Indian cuisine. Daryaganj aims to recreate the meal of many courses specially crafted to showcase the history of Tandoori cuisine and its evolution,” says Bagga.

The motto of Daryaganj is to awaken forgotten flavours on the palate, the unacknowledged tastes of nostalgia.

What Is Daryaganj All About?

Daryaganj is a place which brings forth the same old age recipes, the same quality of food that was served at the original establishment but in a more contemporary setting. 

Bagga mentions that at Daryaganj, they try to bring all the five senses alive. The interiors at Daryaganj implicative of the bygone era with wood carvings. Wooden surfaces make the area feel warmer and cosier, and they also have a calming effect. The ambience is engaging with a coalition of Indian art, calligraphed floor tiles, faux marble mosaic and brass to create a niche look.

At Daryaganj, they are very particular about selecting the right collection, which matches their décor and dishes. They have customized porcelain plates along with brass platters and bowls. 

The sense of taste comes alive when robust Indian flavours are brought to life using fresh local produce. All age-old recipes have been reworked to be closest to the way they were served in the 1950s. The dishes that were invented then will be clearly marked as the original on the menu, like “The Original Butter Chicken” and “The Original Dal Makhani”. 

The sense of hearing has also been paid attention to. The music played at Daryaganj is carefully selected. It is also kept in sync with the bygone era of the 50s. They usually play the cover version of the old songs by new artists. The music is eloquent and unplugged. 

Everything at Daryaganj, from the crockery to the sources of entertainment, is in coordination with keeping the age-old techniques alive. 

Role Of Cockpit and Anti Theft Feature In The Operations

Technological advancements are changing every element of a typical restaurant’s operations, from how diners make reservations to how managers track inventory. Convenience, Data, Delivery and Online/Mobile ordering are key areas where maximum up-gradation is happening in restaurant technology.

Amit Bagga has been using POSist at his outlet. The Cockpit App helps him in viewing detailed reports about his restaurant business and make smart decisions to increase revenues — the real-time updates about the restaurant help in reducing the dependency on the restaurant manager for business reports. 

“The food cost is kept in control by keeping a check on the purchases, of what is selling and what is not. It helps in creating a stronger plan for the future. It also helps in reducing the spoilage and unnecessary wastage,” says Bagga.

 The Anti Theft feature helps him to keep a check on the fraudulent activities going on in the restaurant. Even if there is the slightest of inconvenience, the Anti Theft App helps in tracking it efficiently. 

“We have CCTVs installed all over; it helps me to be all the more sure while using the Anti Theft App. I can watch my employees as well. The feature effortlessly helps me to view the employee details and the transactions they are involved in, keeping a close check on the internal pilferage and the staff involved,” says Bagga. 

Role Of Corporate Social Responsibility 

Restaurant owners have realized the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) which essentially means doing the right thing for employees, community and even towards the Earth. It has certainly become a substantial aspect of the restaurant industry. CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives. 

At Daryaganj, CSR is fulfilled towards the employees, customers and community in the following ways:

The education expenses of junior employees’ kids are sponsored by Daryaganj. All the employees are covered with medical insurance. Bagga mentions that companies usually forget about the mental health of the employees working for them.

“We have regular counselling sessions for our employees. Psychiatrists are called to assess their physical and mental symptoms,” says Bagga.

For the customers, they ensure that high quality and hygienic food is served. Daryaganj never compromises on the quality of the food. For the community as a whole, they are soon starting with the concept of distributing food to the underprivileged section of the society.

CSR is a vital tool to boost business and employee morale, it brings in a sense of pride in the organisation, engenders teamwork and is a source of inspiration and connectedness.

Four Strategic Learnings From Amit Bagga’s Journey

The four major strategic learnings from Bagga’s journey are as follows:

  • Location

According to Bagga, the location of your restaurant business will impact its success nearly as much like the menu. If your restaurant is in the wrong place, you won’t attract the number of customers you will need in order to stay in business. 

  • Choose A Unique Concept:

Your unique restaurant concept is basically how your restaurant works. The concept should cover more than cuisine, including decor, lighting, ambience and service. The message must be unique enough to appeal and simple enough for each customer to understand and remember.

  • Quality Of The Product:

Quality of food is important from a business standpoint. Your restaurant can stand out in a sea of competition simply by offering the best quality dishes in town. The quality you offer will shape your restaurant’s reputation and image in the community. Improving your menu can breathe new life into your establishment and bring new, loyal customers through your door.

  • Focus On Food Waste Concepts:

Food waste is an epidemic. About 30 to 40% of food is unnecessarily wasted. This is becoming such a serious issue that it could as well be made a crime; it’s high time we adopt measures to curb the problem. Bagga says that restaurants should adopt waste management techniques like using the First In First Out (FIFO) rule, buying only what is required and, following recipe management etc. to reduce waste. Managing your food properly and reducing the waste will not only help you in contributing to a green environment and humanity but will also cut down the costs incurred in the preparation of food.

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