Mr. Sharad Batra, Co-founder, and Director of Cafe Delhi Heights, Nueva, and Dhansoo Café is an established stalwart in the Indian F&B industry. After acquiring a degree in Architecture, Sharad started to look into the modalities of design-led customer experience. In 2011, he launched Cafe Delhi Heights in Delhi NCR with his brother and partner Mr. Vikrant Batra. In a short period of 9 years, they have managed to take Cafe Delhi Heights all across Delhi/ NCR, Mumbai, and Pune starting a legacy known by many.
Despite being an architect by profession, he always knew he had business acumen. He started off his journey by making early calculated investments in real estate and was soon advising many others on the same. This passion didn’t take time to become something concrete for Sharad. It grew to become a full-time occupation, where he consulted corporates, retailers, and business owners.
His special observation skills allowed him to foresee upcoming retail trends like malls and other commercial spaces. Soon Sharad ventured into the F&B industry with his brother. With an understanding of upcoming trends, they put themselves on the map before anyone else had even started harnessing the growing cafe culture in the country. Nine years back, Sharad decided to open the first Cafe Delhi Heights outlet in Crosspoint, Gurgaon. Today, Cafe Delhi Heights stands tall with 24 outlets all across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, and Chandigarh.
In Conversation with Sharad Batra, Co-founder, and Director, Cafe Delhi Heights
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Mr. Sharad Batra, Co-founder, and Director of Cafe Delhi Heights discusses how the brand has been successful in delivering an exceptional restaurant experience with a unique blend of ambience and design.
A Dining Experience Like Never Before
Sharad’s family has been in the F&B industry for the last 30 years. His parents started a banqueting and catering business and later expanded into the hotel and restaurant industry. When they started expanding into the F&B segment, Sharad handled the design and architecture of the restaurant while his brother, Vikrant single-handedly managed all the food-related operations.
The duo worked on their first cafe project for six months and the thought of whether the concept would be successful or not filled them with excitement. One of the most striking features of Cafe Delhi Heights is its multiple styles of seating. Sharad wanted to break the monotony of visiting a restaurant and experiencing the same ambience with the only difference being the customers you are dining with. When a customer walks into a Cafe Delhi Heights outlet, they can have a variety of seating options to choose from.
The design DNA of Cafe Delhi Heights remains the same but the color combination, design factors, layouts, etc keep evolving. Sharad also mentions that the cafe has been successful in catering to Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z. The cafe tries to evolve and adapt from the design aspect too, and appeal to people of different generations by evoking a sense of nostalgia and connectedness with all the age groups.
On the factors that attributed to the success of Delhi Heights, Sharad says,
Simpler the things, the more appealing they are. Your home will always be the simplest place, irrespective of you spending the longest time there, and that’s why we wanted to keep things relatively simple so that customers can feel a sense of connection.
For certain locations, the cafe has evolved from being a neighborhood cafe, destination cafe, or a mall cafe with each restaurant layout offering a unique atmosphere and experience to the customers. In India, every city has a different appeal and no product works the same way for customers across all regions. That is why, Cafe Delhi Heights offers a wide variety of products on their menu that closely match the taste preferences of different demographics.
Sailing Through The Pandemic
During the pandemic, Sharad says that they wanted to deliver the same product that they served earlier, but in a more hygienic and sanitized condition. The main reason being that they wanted to make their customers more comfortable while dining out. Sharad highlights that Cafe Delhi Heights had already been following a strict hygiene regime even in the pre-Covid days. The cafe operates with an open kitchen concept, which enables the customers to witness how their food is being prepared and handled.
When customers can see how their food is being prepared and whether the kitchen staff is following all the hygiene protocols, subconsciously, it creates a level of trust in them.
After months of lockdown, customer preferences have evolved dramatically. Customers have explored themselves, redefined their lifestyle, and decided to avoid certain things. Sharad mentions that it is important to understand how customers are behaving, and evolve your concept. He concludes the session with a positive note to the upcoming restaurant owners.
Don’t enter the restaurant business for money. If you’re passionate about the food and restaurant business, take a leap of faith and everything will fall into place.