Nishant VijayaKumar, a culinary connoisseur, is a chef by profession. Prior to stepping into the hospitality industry, he represented Tamil Nadu in the Under 17 and Under 19 national cricket team. He graduated from Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal and is a Gold Medallist. Post graduating, he worked as Jr Sous Chef with ITC Hotels. VijayaKumar always aspired of launching something of his own. He finally started Brownie Heaven in 2015. Brownie Heaven is a product-centric brand that offers 22 delicious flavours across 20+ outlets in South India!
How Did Brownie Heaven Kickoff?
Brownie Heaven is a popular destination for brownie lovers based in Chennai. VijayaKumar wanted to create something that’s known for its texture and quality. Breaking with convention, Brownie Heaven offers new and interesting varieties of brownies. VijayaKumar is familiar with mixing various flavours together. It all started because of these two reasons:
1) Unnecessary Wastage:
While working for various hotels before Brownie Heaven was set up, VijayaKumar realized that there was a lot of pilferage and wastage. VijayaKumar wanted to reduce such wastage to create a more sustainable business model and increase profit margins. In just about 3 months of operation, they sold 2,000 kgs of brownie, which was a huge success for them.
2) Model Which Can Be Scaled:
The main aim of a ‘product-centric’ model was to scale the entire gamut of operations. This would help in maintaining the consistency of food across outlets by standardizing recipes. VijayaKumar did not want to open a restaurant with multiple cuisines, he wanted to focus on a particular niche which was scalable. That’s how Brownie Heaven started!
Brownie Heaven Strives To Create A Benchmark In Creativity and Presentation
At Brownie Heaven, unique concepts created by VijayaKumar, make customers crave for more. In terms of creativity, VijayaKumar shares that they have experimented with the classic desserts replacing the ‘cake; with ‘brownie’. Desserts like Tiramisu, Cheesecake, Blackforest, Banoffee are transformed into brownie to give customers a delightful experience. They have a huge range of brownies: Brownie Junkie which is brownie with crushed potato chips and ice cream, Chilli Chocolate brownies with a dainty aftertaste of chillies. Other popular flavours include roasted nut, peanut butter, white chocolate, salted caramel fudge, peppermint and red velvet.
Brownies will always be the lifeblood of Brownie Heaven. In terms of presentation and innovation, VijayaKumar says that they innovate a lot in terms of the product. During Ganesh Chaturthi, they have special ‘Brownie Modaks’, during Christmas they have special ‘Brownie Plum Pudding’ and during other festivities, they have ‘Brownie Laddoos’.
Strategic Learnings To Run A Successful Restaurant Business
Creating a restaurant that others talk about and willingly recommend to others is paramount for restaurant success. Running a restaurant requires more than solid business skills and the willingness to work hard. Here are the learnings from VijayaKumar’s experience to help you run a successful restaurant business:
1) Be The Master Of Your Business:
According to VijayaKumar, it is imperative to understand and be fully aware of what one is doing. To run a successful restaurant business, the restaurateur has to develop his communication skills, learn the details of every job in their restaurant, master the technologies required to manage the books, and find ways to keep customers happy. The restaurateur has to lead his team members by example and foster their trust. It is essential to continually evolve and develop management skills.
2) Importance On Product Quality:
Serving quality products with premium ingredients helps in earning your restaurant a good reputation and compels your guests to return for more. This ensures brand loyalty as well. By using high-quality ingredients, Brownie Heaven delivers consistent taste across all its outlets.
3) Check On Economics
According to VijayaKumar, to ensure longer sustainability, it is critical to analyze the numbers and economics of operating a business. Operating costs such as salaries, marketing, inventory and maintenance are often underestimated, especially with new restaurants. These costs typically make up a large portion of total revenue.
Checklist While Expanding A Restaurant
1) Demographics and Payback Within A Stipulated Time Period:
Analyzing the demographics of a particular area while expanding the restaurant is a critical aspect to look at while expanding. The target audience, prospective customer base and new restaurant trends in the area helps identify menu items with good potential. After launching a new outlet, if the target audience at a particular area is able to pay back within a stipulated time frame, then that area is good to go.
2) Company Run Or Partnership Model:
While expanding, one has to take care whether the new outlet will be company run or through a partnership. VijayaKumar shares that if it is a company run outlet then one should go to the depths of interpreting the operations management. In case of a partnership outlet, one must thoroughly do a background check, so that the intention of the other party is clear and they work collectively for the brand.
3) Food Industry Logistics:
onsumer demand patterns are evolving fast. Logistics is becoming an important play and it’s no longer perceived merely as a cost centre or utility, but rather as a differentiator that sets your restaurant apart from the competition. Keeping a check on operating costs is a constant challenge. Rather than focusing on cost, do a value-cost calculation while expanding your restaurant, especially.