Rajeev Matta has been in the hospitality industry for 26 years now. He was the General Manager, Head Of Operations at Havmor, also a professor at the Institute of Hotel Management, Ahmedabad for a decade. Mr Matta holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from an illustrious Institute of India and a Diploma in Management.
He is the former CEO of S K Restaurants Private Limited. S K Private Limited is a company that was created to launch high-quality restaurants globally, specializing in Indian and other popular cuisines. The restaurant chains are positioned towards different socioeconomic classification categories to be accessible to a wide base of customers.
Their goal at S K Restaurants Private Limited is to deliver top-quality consumer experience, with high levels of quality and operational efficiency reflected in our food, service, and ambience.
In Conversation With Rajeev Matta of S K Restaurants
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Rajeev Matta talks of his journey in the industry, the story behind S K Restaurants Pvt Ltd., ensuring customer satisfaction, marketing strategy and a lot more.
Consistency Of Your Brand
Brand consistency is the delivery of brand messaging in line with brand identity, values, and strategy over time. Consistency means your target audience is being exposed to core messages, visual branding, and other brand elements repeatedly, which can help to solidify brand recognition.
According to Matta, a lot of efforts go behind maintaining brand consistency. He believes that the success of a franchise depends on the product.
“Mr Sanjeev Kapoor was very clear in his thought process and was able to build S K restaurants as a matured restaurant,” says Matta.
The product has to be maintained through the combined efforts of the team. Matta tells that they have a dedicated team of professionals who follow a strict timetable.
They have a single point of contact for their stock, where their entire franchise, whether in India or abroad, is monitored. There is a change in the menu every year. There are regular audit sessions for their franchises and regular training for staff members.
The Chef ensures that the food is fresh and the standards are maintained. Whenever there is a change in the recipe of a particular dish, they are immediately notified about it through a con call or video call.
So, the overall team is responsible for maintaining brand consistency.
Menu engineering is the art and science of how and where to place items on your menu or menu board. This system will not only help you understand the profit contribution for each of your menu items, but it also provides you with an invaluable tool for analyzing your restaurant’s product mix and how it affects your restaurant’s profitability.
According to Matta, at S K Restaurants, the menu goes into many trials, firstly at the head office and then the restaurant. After that Master Chef, Sanjeev Kapoor reviews it and makes any change if required.
There is a change in the menu every two months as per the season or festival. There is a total of six menus in one year.
‘We try to incorporate the most popular dish during a particular season, in the main menu,’ says Matta.
Major Challenges While Operating The Restaurant Business
According to Matta, the two fixed costs which will kill you are Rental Cost and Staff Cost. It is imperative to control both of them.
The current stats show that the failure rate is 90% in this industry now. The newly opened restaurants close down in no time because of inefficiency in controlling the manpower, their salaries, choosing the correct location, etc.
Matta believes in order to cut costs and escape exorbitant rental prices, choose a location with low rental cost, even if it is on the top floor of the building.
‘Once your restaurant is famous, people will be willing to come even on the top floor of the building. It is the service and quality of the food which matters,’ says Matta.
Also, he feels that there should be more emphasis on the home delivery system because it is a lucrative form of business.
No matter the size or stage your business is currently at, having employees leave is just bad for business. Employee turnover is a constant concern for any small business, but in the restaurant industry, it is like a revolving door. Both front-of-house and back-of-house staff are key ingredients to delivering memorable hospitality.
According to Matta, their entire team has been working for more than twenty years which speaks a lot about their organization.
As the CEO, his only focus is on his employees instead of the guests, similarly, the employees take care of their guest’s and guests help in increasing the business.
‘I have made it compulsory for the HR to check on the residential area of the staff every two months and add two more things to ensure their well being and satisfaction,’ says Matta.
Secret Sauce To Success
“The product comes first, along with food, service, ambience followed by good HR policies and positive marketing. If you combine these six things, you cannot wrong. If you make efforts, you cannot fail,” says Matta.
In order to run a successful restaurant business, Matta believes that it is important to have a loyal customer base. He is not concerned about the people outside his restaurant but the ones inside. Matta wants to make their experience better so that they visit them again and become their loyal customers. In the long run, customer service is a key business strategy.