Rohit Maingi Of Bottles And Barrels Reveals What It Takes To Run A Successful Restro-Bar

Rohit Maingi spent 18 years of his life working in Core Banking, Retail Loans and Investment Banking. All his achievements and accolades in banking career pushed him to work on his dream to do something of his own. Being a foodie himself, he had always been looking for good restaurants around his office, be it for a business meeting or a getaway in between working hours. This motivated him to work towards his restaurant project ‘Bottles And Barrels.’

The idea was to serve the corporate clientele in the corporate hub, Gurgaon.  He’d always wanted to open a microbrewery, but in his personal experience, he’d never been to a bar and left pleased with the food. Bottles and Barrels gave Maingi the freedom and opportunity to bring about the change he’d always wanted. Besides serving freshly brewed beer, Bottles and Barrels also prides on serving the most appetizing food.

In Conversation With Rohit Maingi Of Bottles And Barrels

Bottles & Barrels is Gurgaon’s first Horizontal Brew House that serves different flavors of Beer. Known for the lavish ambiance, their opulent terrace consists of six gazebos equally distributed between low and level seating. Adding to this is a live grill and cold food section perfectly suited for good conversations, quality freshly cooked meals and a great selection of beer. They have vibrant live musicians performing thrice a week, and on other days their talented resident DJ spins retro rock, disco hits, and foot tapping Bollywood numbers.

In an exclusive interview with The Restaurant Times, Rohit Maingi talks about the concept of a restro-bar, delivering great customer service, and what it takes to run a successful restro-bar. 

Deciding The Setup

Consumer habits are changing. Today drinking beer is not associated only with parties, but it has become a habit, a part of people’s lifestyle. According to Maingi, running a restaurant with a bar attracts customers more. Bars add to the profitability of the restaurant since beer, wine, and cocktails all have high-profit margins and are much more profitable than food items. Precisely poured and correctly made cocktails offer higher profit than food. 

A bar inside a restaurant can be a star attraction independent of the restaurant, making money from the non-diners. At the very least, a bar within a restaurant can boost footfall and customer engagement, helping to generate a lively and positive atmosphere, says Maingi. It also gives significant upselling opportunities, increasing the cheque size of the table. 

Menu Engineering

The restaurant menu is one thing that is never static; it keeps on changing. It is not only the responsibility of the owner, but the menu is a result of the entire restaurant’s teamwork. Consumer trends are changing and you need to analyze your menu every now and then to keep up with the market demands. Apart from that, the menu should be crafted in a way that draws attention to the high-profit items. 

The restaurant menu has the potential to sell and upsell items even without the server doing much. This is where the role of menu descriptions come into play.

Mouthwatering descriptions are essential, but note that picky eaters look for the ingredients connoisseurs seek adventure.

Rohit Maingi of Bottles and Barrels talks about menu engineering

The menu at Bottles & Barrels is designed to cater to the customer demands and offers delicacies from around the world including a mélange of Indian, Oriental, Continental, and Italian cuisines.

Ensuring Consistency In Food

Customer service is not just about delivering good food. To ensure customers keep coming back, you need to provide a stellar customer service each time. While most restaurateurs keep focusing on what happens in the kitchen, often it is the stock management that requires the maximum attention. And for that, you need a strong back-end.

Selecting the right suppliers for a restaurant business is the first step in ensuring great food. It is vital to ensure that the suppliers deliver the products and services on time, at the right price, and are in compliance with the quality standards.

According to Maingi, having a good relationship with the vendor is extremely important. Even if you have a fixed vendor, you should be aware of other vendors in the market and focus on the checklist of prices.

Before one makes any selection of the potential vendors to provide the service they need, you must document in detail what it is that you exactly need. This comes in useful in case the vendor offerings don’t live up to the standards expected. 

‘When deciding the potential vendors, it is important to judge what they can do for you against what you need them to do, and make sure that there’s a good match,’ says Maingi.

Managing The Customers

Customer service is a critical factor for running a restaurant. It doesn’t matter how good a restaurant appears to be or how fabulous the food is if the service isn’t good, customers are not likely to return.

According to Maingi customer service must always include communication with the diners. When you give them the opportunity to leave a comment, you show them that you are always looking for ways to improve your food and your service based on their feedback. Customer’s comments can help you learn about areas that need improvement. ‘Experience is not only about a great place or great food. It is a complete process from the way customers are greeted at the restaurant to the way food is served,’ says Maingi.

Handling customer complaints is a part of the everyday working of a restaurant that no one likes to deal with. However, regardless of how hard one tries, things occasionally do go wrong. ‘Food can get burned; orders may get missed. Irrespective of the nature of the complaint, the fundamental objective should be to try and make sure that the customers walk away knowing that you have taken their complaint seriously,’ says Maingi. 

Collecting customer details is also a critical part of customer engagement and significantly impacts the customer retention rate of your restaurant. Only then would you be able to re-market through loyalty programs and SMS and email campaigns.

Marketing Dynamics

With rampant competition, ever-changing regulations and shifting trends to contend with, the trick to gaining and keeping valuable customers is to promote bar effectively. ‘Successful bar promotion depends on creating a unique identity of a bar, attracting new and repeat customers, and get a buzz going so that people don’t lose interest.’ says Maingi.

However, running promotions with just a general sense of increasing business can lead to failure. It is important to set measurable goals to make bar promotions worthwhile. Once the purpose is defined, it gets easy to assess the marketing strategies whether they’d be able to accomplish the goals that you want to reach while remaining affordable and doable.

Bottles and Barrels have focused a lot on promotional dynamics, one of the most prominent ones being hosting fun events. The fourth edition of India’s Beer Pong Slam was hosted at Bottles and Barrels in July, and it gave a perfect chance to its customers to win prizes worth Rs 1 lakh including Rs 20,000 in cash and gift vouchers worth Rs 70,000 all. The event turned out to be a huge success and received much appreciation from the customers as well as the media. 

Bottles and Barrels hosted a beer pong competition as a restaurant marketing technique

Maingi concludes by sharing that Bottles & Barrels can soon be seen as a franchise. Keeping your finger on your customer’s pulse to understand their needs,’ is Maingi’s business mantra, and he believes all the dreams can come true if one dares to pursue them. With such a belief, the opportunities are indeed limitless.

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