Raise the Bar Higher: An Interview With Himanshu Gupta, Founder of Clique, Delhi.

Himanshu Gupta, a young hospitality entrepreneur, entered the restaurant industry in 2014.

He started his first outlet in Connaught Place called, Cafe Dalal Street. It was a casual dining cum bar with a unique concept of stock market pricing. The prices of the drinks would fluctuate according to the customer demand for that drink. 

Gradually, he came up with an exclusive bar in 2018, called Clique in Ansal Plaza. Himanshu and his partners were inspired by the concept of Toyroom in London. Clique with its mood-lit ceilings has a lot of quirky stuff inside. They have exotic dancers, a pop-up candy bar, spiderman performing tricks, insta-worthy bars with edgy pop art and really cool neon signs!

In Conversation With Himanshu Gupta of Clique

In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Himanshu Gupta talks of his journey in the industry, keeping a check on costs, crowd management at Clique and many more. 

Keeping A Check On The Costs 

In the restaurant business, it is essential to work out your costs and overheads so that you can arrive at pricing as close to ‘perfect’ as possible, so that both you as well as your customers are happy.

According to a report by the National Restaurant Association of India, the Indian foodservice industry is estimated to be worth Rs.5.99 trillion by 2022-23. 

The cost per square foot is dictated by the location, size, the material used and type of restaurant you run. According to Gupta, the rent of your restaurant should not be more than 10% of your revenue. 

The staff at your outlet helps you run it smoothly and it’s only fair that you remunerate them well for their job. Gupta tells that staff cost should not be more than 12-13% of the total revenue. 

It is vital to buy quality products for one’s restaurant. Food costs reflect an operation’s food quality, the value provided to the customer, and management skill level. 

‘The food cost should not be more than 30% of the total revenue,’ says Gupta.

For liquor, a variance of more than 2% should be considered a liability. Keeping a check on the opening and closing inventory of liquor is a multi-step inventory process that occurs within a set period of time and gives better insight into the purchasing and usage rates for your liquor inventory. This will help in tracking any misappropriations that might be happening in the bar inventory. 

Gupta mentions that POSist’s integrated stock and inventory management feature has helped them to analyze the cost and revenue generated from each and every product. For every alcohol brand, the consumption pattern, revenue generated and the average profit margin is analyzed. Profit is what’s leftover after subtracting the expenses from the gross revenue.  This helps in taking a lot of crucial decisions regarding the various items available. The variance between the actual and physical cost helps in cutting down unnecessary wastages and promotes optimal utilisation of resources.

Crowd Management 

The bar industry is an extremely competitive one, with new competitors seeming to pop up nearly every week. According to Gupta, crowd control at a bar is a major challenge. At a bar like Clique, the crowd pattern varies on weekends and weekdays. Gupta shares that on a Saturday, there might be 500 people walking in but on a weekday like Monday, the total strength might only be 50. 

It becomes imperative to ensure that the service delivered to the customers is top-notch.  Customer service is the capability to satisfy the customers’ needs and wants. Good customer service includes how employees interact with customers when things are going well, as well as how employees handle difficult situations. The best employees develop customer service relationships with bar guests. The customers feel at home and they feel welcomed while visiting the bar. 

Without successful crowd management techniques, your restaurant could witness scenes ranging from unpleasant to dangerous. At Clique, in order to avoid overcrowding, they take care while profiling the customers as they enter. Only a couple of entries or a group of people are generally allowed to enter in order to maintain decorum. A staff member continuously counts the number of male and female customers entering the bar, to maintain a ratio between the two genders. 

Strategies For Running A Successful  Bar

  • Long Term Business Plan: Defining company vision along with personal vision is the first step towards achieving one’s long term business plan. Aligning your personal vision with your company vision is key to achieving personal and professional goals. Conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis, can help in improving the plan and achieve the goals in a more efficient manner.
  • Consistent With The Service: Quality and Consistency are the main reasons why customers return to a restaurant. At Clique, they take extra care to enhance the overall customer service, so that it impacts customer experience directly. At Clique, they are very consistent with their music as well. The customers are very well aware of what music to expect at Clique!
  • Building Personal Relationships With Customers: Building a base of loyal customers doesn’t require a huge marketing budget. In the restaurant industry, maintaining good customer relationships is just as important as having a functioning kitchen. Every customer interaction you have is a way of gaining their continued business and loyalty. Getting your staff members involved can modify your restaurant business and leave your staff members feeling more upbeat, which can lead to better customer interactions and more staff and customer retention. 

Role Of Technology In Restaurant Operations 

Automation and standardization are essential advantages offered by Point-Of-Sale technology which makes complex hospitality management as simple as entering a few words into a computer. Whether it is a fine dine or quick-service, a POS helps to increase sales, improve service and make better business decisions. Gupta has been using POSist at his outlet. 

“The live reporting helps me immensely to strategize and take crucial decisions regarding my menu items. After analyzing the reports, we had discontinued the cocktails. The detailed reports about each and every item help in controlling the business more efficiently,” says Gupta. 

According to Gupta, the main advantage which POSist has given them is that it is a cloud-based software which prevents loss of data and enables tracking of operations on a real-time basis.  

The Anti-Theft feature helps them to keep a check on any fraudulent activities going on in the bar. Approximately 5 to 6 void bills during weekends have been tracked through the Anti-Theft software. The Cockpit app gives a clear picture of the hourly sales performance of the outlet, gross sales, the average amount spent by each customer among other things. The total number of discounts offered can also be tracked. 

As technology advances, the restaurant POS is also constantly evolving to accommodate market demands. From simply just a billing software, the restaurant POS has now become a comprehensive restaurant management platform that provides an end-to-end solution.

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1 COMMENT

  1. It’s a very informative article and have an in depth analysis on crowd managing too which is very useful too. My friend is opening a bar so this article is a must read for people like him. A great read with a lot to know about the bar and it’s management.

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