Sharuk Narang a lawyer by education, had a tremendous love for food which drifted all his attention towards the Food and Beverage industry. Cooking for his friends and working in restaurants as a Chef led him to start Café Wiser Miser, which is located in the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The USP of Cafe Wiser Miser is excellent food and service at pocket-friendly prices. They offer a multi-cuisine menu, one of their most appealing offerings being 21 appetizers served in a platter.
The menu caters to the palate of the aam janta and offers the best of international and Indian dishes at an economical rate. The unique interiors of the place have been designed using recycled showpieces which makes it even more eye-catchy.
In a conversation with The Restaurant Times, Sharuk Narang talked about his journey so far, the operational challenges, the importance of economical food, and his expansion plans.
In Conversation with Sharuk Narang of Cafe Wiser Miser
Cafe Wiser Miser, the name itself, describes the entire concept of the brand that one can enjoy good food and beverage at economical prices.
‘Cafe Wiser Miser provides a very casual and comforting space for people to enjoy a good time at utterly pocket-friendly prices. As the name suggests, we encourage people to make wise decisions by choosing to dine with us as we serve food and drinks at very reasonable prices without compromising on the taste.’ says Narang.
Challenges of Opening A Restaurant
The first step to opening a restaurant is arranging the funds. Many new restaurant owners undervalue the startup capital they require to open a new restaurant and the operating capital to run it until it reaches the breakeven and starts making a profit.
Covering the lease of the property, doing the interiors, hiring the right staff, stocking the kitchen and inventory, all require a lot of capital for setting up a restaurant. Even seasoned restaurant owners suffer financially, especially during recessions when they have fewer customers.
‘Real Estate Cost and Human Resource cost are two of the biggest startup costs of a restaurant, and these are two areas you can’t compromise on. The key is balancing the budget to offset the funds allotted to attracting and retaining top talent,’ says Narang.
Since the service of the staff directly affects the sales, it is important to maintain high HR standards, he further asserts.
Customer Retention Management
In an industry rife with stiff competition, restaurants that do not put plans in place to get customers through the doors will naturally fail. Therefore, once you get a customer to sit down and eat, making sure you get them to come back is critical.
The common perception is that good food alone will lead a restaurant to success. Most restaurateurs do not re-market to their existing customers and only focus on attracting new customers. Considering that 80% of an average restaurant’s sales are generated by 20% of its customers, customer retention is of prime importance.
According to Narang, returning customers provide a typical stream of revenue and outspend new customers. Thus, it is important to focus on customer retention and making them your brand evangelists. Your loyal customers will help you spread the word and attract new business as well.
Selling Alcohol At MRP
The USP of Cafe Wiser Miser, that is, selling alcohol at MRP is what differentiates them from the other bars. Even at a competitive location like the Connaught Place, this helps bring in a lot of customers. But then, how does Wiser Miser bring in profits despite the high rentals and low selling price?
Instead of raising the menu prices, Narang focuses on customer retention and smart resource planning. He also brings up innovative yet economical presentation and cooking techniques to constantly delight his customers. For instance, lately, Wiser Miser has been using jute trays to further attract customers and keep up with the competition.
‘It is important to not spread your resources too thin by overspending or underselling,’ says Narang.
Having a smooth coordination in the processes helps in running a profitable restaurant, and managing stock and inventory well is critical. Choosing a quality vendor is essential as having a reputation for mediocre food can destroy your restaurant’s reputation.
‘At Cafe Wiser Miser, we take care to strike the right balance between the liquor stock that is available easily and the liquor that generates the maximum sales. All liquor brands cannot be stocked as liquor requires a substantial investment. Thus, it is important to choose the right vendor for alcohol,’ says Narang.
Narang has further plans of opening more experiential restaurants. Passport, The Travelers Cafe is set to be opened in Delhi, and Cali Bar in Goa is coming up in the next few months.
Sharuk Narang concludes with the idea that whether you manage a pub or nightclub, the challenges of running a successful bar go far beyond just keeping customers’ glasses full. To run a successful bar, you need to focus on the entire guest experience and plan and allocate your resources well.