Professionally, Sankar Kasirajan worked as a general management professional with proven ability to wear different hats in a multicultural work environment. He had a successful background in product management, business development and, sales management. However, overpowered with the love for food and the restaurant space, in particular, he was driven towards opening the brand which today is famous as IDlish. IDlish believes in preserving the traditional method of preparation of authentic dishes, which are tastefully infused with unexpected and refreshing twists. ‘The cycle of life demands that we evolve with time and thus, IDlish is here to serve up a newly curated take on the dishes we all love and cherish’, says Kasirajan.
In Conversation With Sankar Kasirajan Of IDlish
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Sankar Kasirajan talks about the importance of location, staff happiness, break even and a lot about his brand.
Story Behind The Name IDlish
According to Kasirajan, Tamilian cuisine is diverse and boasts of a wide range of options, such that there is something for everyone and is also known for being one of the healthiest cuisines. Its simplicity allows for experimentation and the subsequent creation of various fusion dishes, which are sure to pack a flavourful punch.
‘Idli is widely acknowledged as one of the best breakfast options. Idli also has some known sibling like the dosa and some less known sibling like the Uthappam and some unknown sibling like the Paniyaram. IDlish is here to give them all a new look and present it to be more appealing to the eyes and taste buds. It is time to relish the Idli and Dosa and get healthier’, says Kasirajan.
Importance Of Location
According to Kasirajan, location of the restaurant matters a lot. The idea to start a restaurant should always begin by deciding the ideal place for the brand. Of course one needs excellent food, but they also need to make it convenient to get the product through the door. Otherwise, the lack of accessibility and visibility always create problems.
Determine the type of restaurant to be opened and think about the kind of customers to be targeted. A target market is a particular composition of consumers that one markets their products to. Once determined who the target patrons are, start the market research to find out where the people who match the target market live, work, shop and like to eat.
‘IDlish concept offers something for everyone in a family, there is traditional food, and there is also healthy Tamilian food based fusion food. So, we were clear to have it located in a food street frequented by families and shortlisted a few places. Further market research was done to identify the gap between supply and demand. For example, there are few south Indian restaurants in that particular area, but none of them offer the authentic tasting Madras Sambar, Rasam or Chutney. We filled the gap, and the response from the local population has been overwhelming’, says Kasirajan.
Importance Of Break-Even for restaurants
According to Kasirajan, restaurant management is like a roller coaster where trial and error are constant. Understanding the company’s break-even point is vital for restaurant owners. It is essential to know how much they need to achieve in sales to realize a profit. The elements of break-even analysis include sales revenue, fixed and variable costs. One should analyze the components of the break-even point to determine how much the brand needs to achieve in total to break even. The break-even point helps the owners to make crucial business decisions to achieve the company’s desired income.
‘Depending on the location and timing of opening, two to six months to break-even and ROI of twelve to eighteen months would be range between ideal to realistic. We just completed two months of operations and just started delivering through one of the aggregators and two more will be on board from April. We are well on course to break-even by the 3rd month’, says Kasirajan.
According to Kasirajan, a growing number of people nowadays are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of eating a healthy diet. The saying “you are what you eat” is now a common phrase that customers have started applying to their eating habits and have begun to appreciate and understand its worth.
Lifestyle continues to become more erratic, with people eating out almost every day, the need for healthy food has become dominant. To cater to this need, the trend of the healthy food business is fast catching up and is expected to grow even more in the years to come. This is no less than an added responsibility on the shoulders of the restaurant owners to introduce food in their menu that satisfy these criteria for their customers.
‘Our core concept is explained in our tagline – Taste & Health Always together @ IDlish. Exciting the taste buds and also maintaining the nutritious elements and authenticity of the cuisine is what describes the goal of IDlish. IDlish uses traditional methods of preparation from fermenting the batter to hand-making the filter coffee, that ensures the nutritious elements remain intact,’ says Kasirajan.
According to Kasirajan, social media has changed the face of marketing for the restaurant business. Restauranteurs no longer are dependent on the traditional word-of-mouth marketing even though it is the easiest and the cheapest form of marketing. Social media marketing for restaurants enables engagement and interaction with the customers and followers and also allows to widen the reach.
‘We do run and plan to continue campaigns, offers, and promos as they go hand-in-hand with the service and quality of food for a new brand like IDlish. Apart from social media marketing, we also depend on few offline and traditional methods of advertisements like the use of flyers as well as social media to create and maintain regular awareness about our offers.
According to Kasirajan, technology has overtaken the restaurant space. With the onset of POS solutions, human efforts have been efficiently reduced making the life of a restaurant owner simple. There is a need for a single integrated solution that allows you to manage the different aspects of your restaurant business from one place. This is where a smart restaurant POS software comes into the picture.
‘IDlish has been using POSist, and it has been no less than a lifesaver. We efficiently use their models like KOT, billing, and CRM. These have prominently streamlined my operations quite well. They allow us easy integration with aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato, that makes the delivery operations smoother.’
Kasirajan concludes by sharing his plans, ‘the response of the concept of IDlish has been overwhelming, and we are already getting several inquiries for franchising as well. We shall work in that direction after completion of 6 months of our operations. There are potential for offshoots like IDlish for corporates and IDlish delivery model as well. We are closely observing looking at the numbers as well and formulating a strategy over the next three months.’