Professionally an engineer, Moeen always had immense love and inclination towards the hospitality sector. As he was not from the food space, it took him one long year to frame and build a brand as he did not want to start anything in haste. This dedication and his love for the hospitality business guided him to open his own venture which is now known as Mughlai Zaika. Unlike a lot of restaurant owners, who start a restaurant only for the sake of generating revenues, his aim was to serve the best quality food to the patrons at a nominal price so that people can walk-in and enjoy the food of their choice. Moeen firmly believes that customer retention is more critical than revenue-generation as it allows the brand to grow.
In Conversation With Moeen Of Mughlai Zaika
In an exclusive interview with the Restaurant Times, Moeen talks about the importance of location for setting up a brand, methods to deal with competition, the influence of technology and a lot more.
Casual Dining Over Other Setups
According to Moeen, these days there are hundreds of places and brands that give a chance to the youngsters to come and party. All around India, there has been a rise in the number of restro-bars or for that matter QSRs, but one thing that lacks is, in the haste of generating revenues and staying in the competition people forget what customers really want. A casual dining setup like Mughlai Zaika gives a chance to families to come together and dine.
A casual dining restaurant offers and advertises high-quality food, with quick and efficient delivery at a great price, and this is what gives it an edge over other restaurant formats.
Dealing With Competition
According to Moeen, competitors are everywhere. Whether it is a startup brand or veteran, one needs to know how to deal with competitors in the restaurant business.
It is important to analyze the competition’s operation to identify where they’re better and also be aware of their weaknesses which could work to your advantage. Understand your inadequacies and flaws as well so that you can improve and analyze what customers get at your new competitor’s place that they aren’t getting at your restaurant.
‘I deal with competition by relying mostly on the quality of my food. We have different chefs from different places, to make sure that we don’t only write on paper about the authenticity of our food but also serve our patrons’ authentic Mughlai food. We don’t believe in ready-made masalas; all the spices are prepared in house to maintain the authenticity of our brand’, says Moeen.
Also, bringing in new concepts and innovation helps to beat the competition and generate more profit.
‘Consider ways to include made-to-order items on your menu. Patrons are more likely to pay a higher price when a customization is an option,’ says Moeen.
Importance of Location
Not every available location is an ideal or an appropriate site. A good restaurant location is harder to find than most people think. Parking availability and front view of the shop are the two most important factors for setting up an ideal location for a brand.
According to Moeen, humans are lazy creatures. There is just no way around it. If they have to walk a fair distance to get to a restaurant, they may opt to go somewhere else more convenient. If a restaurant is located in an area where the customers prefer to walk and there is public transportation, this is less of a factor. ‘If you are thinking of a restaurant location out of town, or at a place that requires you to drive to get there, you’d better have parking available,’ says Moeen
Apart from this, old buildings may not have the necessary infrastructure to support the needs of a brand new restaurant. Ensure the building has sufficient electrical, ventilation, and telephone services to meet your business’s present and future needs. It’s a good idea to consult an architect to look for the best location for your restaurant.
Ensuring Quality of Food
High-quality food comes through a distribution channel that connects a restaurant owner with a food supplier. Choosing a quality vendor is a critical factor that guides a restaurant toward success. Having a reputation for mediocre food can destroy a restaurant’s credibility and reliability.
‘Finding a chicken and mutton vendor has been the most challenging task for me, as the quality of flesh has to be fresh,’ Moeen adds to this saying that, the quality of an item should be tested for a minimum of seven days. It needs to be checked; it is more of a trial and test method before zeroing on one vendor. It is critical to inquire about their meat and produce packing dates. Slaughter date, packing time and shipping date are terms every restaurant owner must be aware of when it comes to meat packaging. This advice is critical to ensure you have the freshest meat possible. You’ll also want to know about the transit time for your fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure you don’t end up with overripe produce.
Ensuring Staff Training
Staff training holds a significant role in the life of a restaurant owner, and whether it is for the veteran staff or new hires, regular training is one of the most essential practices in any restaurant. If the team is given the opportunity to get trained and are shown the way to progress within the brand, then they will stay. Acknowledging the hard work, and rewarding the staff makes them feel much happier and be more focused. A happy and focused workforce delivers better results. Plus, it naturally follows that if your people are moving forward, then your business is too.
According to Moeen, the restaurant space uses a diverse workforce, which includes a variety of positions that may or may not have an active educational component. The entire workforce is a reflection of a brand’s culture, which is why everyone needs to be trained from top to bottom on certain specific values and standards.
According to Moeen, the restaurant industry has come a long way from paper order ticket systems. Many may not realize the enormous amount of technology restaurants utilize. Major restaurant chains are embracing big data software and data mining to improve the customer experience and their bottom line.
Giving up on the old methods of bringing the customers to the food, restaurants can now take the food to the customer. These novel technologies can also be used to promote the menu in places that it otherwise wouldn’t be seen, boost volume, keep operations smooth, and impress customers better.
Moeen concludes by sharing his plans for opening one more outlet in Mumbai in 2019. He is even coming up with an SOP and plans to trademark his brand. Very soon he will be open to giving franchise as well.