Like the majority of the Indian population, Manuj Gupta ended up with an engineering degree. The only twist in the tale was his excitement and passion for food, which kept growing with each passing day. He began his career with Infosys, post which he joined his family business.
To expand the business he went on importing from around the globe. Within a short period of time, he was able to turn his business into a nation-wide sub-dealer network and was able to set up offices in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Chennai. However, his family business did not stop him from pursuing his dream of starting a food and beverage venture, keeping in mind the limited options available for vegetarians and non-drinkers alike.
‘Business led me to travel to many places around the globe, which made me encounter several situations offering minimal options for food and drinks to choose from,’ says Gupta. Gupta came up with the concept of Darzi Bar & Kitchen to provide a tailor-made experience for the customers that gave them the liberty to customize their food and drink.
In Conversation With Manuj Gupta Of The Darzi Bar & Kitchen
Gupta’s vision was to offer an out-of-the-box experience at The Darzi Bar and Kitchen and make Indians experience the cocktail culture which he feels has been on the rise from the last two years. He believes that the demand for good quality food and cocktail in India has been proliferating and is very prominent today, which is precisely what he is trying to cater to the people at The Darzi Bar and Kitchen. They have a concept of tailor-made food and cocktails which focus on a well-measured and well-balanced consistency and quality for the individual taste.
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times Gupta talks about how his passion changed into his profession, the story behind his brand and a lot more.
The Story Behind Darzi Bar & Kitchen
Located in the heart of the capital city, The Darzi Bar and Kitchen spreads across two floors with an area of 5000 sq. Ft. It is a first of its kind “made to order” space. The venue offers a unique set of concoctions and food trends that are a class apart. It is inspired with a selection fit for every individual, focused to suit their requirements, offering many tailor-made cocktails to complement their tastes and choices.
With needles, sewing machines adorning their decor, they also house a tailor shop right on the ground floor. ‘The Darzi Bar & Kitchen always tries its best to give its valued guests a ‘tailor-made’ experience of quintessential drinks and food, and pleasant ambiance,’ says Gupta.
Challenges Of Opening A Restaurant
Opening a restaurant is no cakewalk. From finalizing the right location to hiring the right staff, much needs to be taken care of. However, the most crucial aspect of starting a restaurant business is getting the necessary licenses in place, and this is where Gupta had his share of troubles.
‘Licensing was the biggest challenge faced by us. Our entry in the F&B industry coincided with a lot of policy changes around the restaurants. The Health License and Liquor License were put on hold without any notices, and this put us in a terrible spot. Our dedication, perseverance, and belief in our project was the only thing that kept us sailing in these rough waters,’ says Gupta.
Keeping The Customers Hooked
The restaurant industry is ever dynamic, and restaurants must constantly introduce innovations not only to attract customers but to cater to the market demands. ‘With the changing demands of the customers that come with the seasons, we need to keep ourselves updated all the time,’ says Gupta. It might get difficult, but it is not impossible to achieve. According to Gupta, good food, great drinks, and the perfect ambiance are enough to lure the audience, and Darzi believes in offering much more to its patrons. Coming up with offers and discounts according to the customer demands helps us give an extra edge.
Ensuring Customer Satisfaction
Maintaining the customer dining experience is a must to stay in the competition. Combining this experience with technology concerning food innovation, data analysis, and continuous improvements gives an edge over the competition. It is also important to communicate with the customers to understand what they really want. And the best way to do that is by seeking feedback.
According to Gupta, satisfying every customer and sending them smiling is challenging but essential. This is the golden rule of any business; even if the customer is wrong, they should never be told. It is important to be sensitive and take the time to listen to their complaint or suggestion. Problems will undoubtedly arise in even the best of restaurants. It’s how you handle them that will determine if customer return or go elsewhere.
The smile on the faces of our patrons made us win the title for best theme based gastropub in India, and Darzi Bar and Kitchen believes it shall continue to do so, as our main aim is to win customer satisfaction, says Gupta.
Importance Of Staff Training
It is a must to train the staff members for the wine and alcohol they serve. Every customer comes with his or her own experience and has a level of expectations. At Darzi Bar, says Gupta, even when customers ask for the menu, the staff is indicated well enough to let the customers know what are the ingredients in their order to check if any of the members have any specific alteration or allergies.
According to Gupta, it is very important to keep coming up with different deals and promotions regularly. ‘At Darzi, we have made sure about one thing, and that is to give our Bar menu the seasonal twist. With each season approaching, we plan well in advance and make sure to add twists accordingly, such that the menu never remain mundane. It is these nitty-gritties that we look into, to keep customers hooked to Darzi any time, any season’.
Ensuring Staff Happiness and Motivation
Staff happiness comes with incentives and appreciation, says Gupta. According to Gupta, the staff is the first face of any restaurant, and it is their approach, technique and innate warmth and compassion that keeps the customer coming back. ‘Be it the people who wait for the tables or the culinary section staff, or the kitchen staff, we are happy that we employ people who have been trained well and can deliver impeccable service standards. We keep them motivated and energetic to run around all day long, with upfront appreciation and incentives as they like it,’ says Gupta
Menu engineering is a significant factor that one needs to keep in mind for any restaurant. It is this which helps the customers look for something that they like.
‘As a restaurateur, I believe that the curators have to put together one such menu, where there is a dish for everyone on the table. Imagine walking into a restaurant in a group and not finding anything that you like; nothing can be as disheartening as that. Hence, as a part of Menu Engineering, it is a must to include everything for all,’ says Gupta.
One needs to understand the psychology of the customers, do proper market research, and keep renovating the menu every so often. Based on the customer interest and item profitability, you should add or delete items from the menu.
Today, many restaurants are using technology to woo people, in the restaurant industry technology has rapidly evolved in the past few years. Higher demand for efficient restaurant technologies has resulted in a string of mutually constructive changes for both restaurateurs and their guests. Both now see safer and easier transactions and end up spending less money.
Today, technology is used for much more than taking orders. According to Gupta, technology is helping restaurants to better productivity, sales, and customer service. Darzi also believes in having a strong team to handle the front end.
Manuj concludes by saying that Darzi’s aim is to tailor make things and customize it for the patrons. We believe in adapting to the changes and look forward to coming up with more interesting concepts in the future.’