The whole idea behind opening “The Daily Bar and Kitchen” is to relieve the customers from the chaos of the everyday life. Dishant Pritamani, Co-Founder of The Daily says, “We try to create a happy, carefree environment which is largely achieved by our distinctive ambience and by balancing the quirky interiors with luxurious seating. The Daily, as the name suggests is a place where customers can enjoy hang out with friends and enjoy good news from all over the world over one of a kind cocktails and fabulous food.
In Conversation with Dishant Pritamani of the Daily Bar and Kitchen
Running a popular restaurant in busy streets of Bandra West, Mumbai is no easy task. Dishant further talks about his journey in the restaurant business and the daily challenges he faces. Edited Excerpts…
POSist: Please share your thoughts about the restaurant as a business. What was your approach when you started your own?
Dishant Pritamani: I started almost 2-and-a-half years back. I had realised that something was changing as a general global trend. People weren’t looking for big clubs to frequent; dressing up, standing in queues, paying for entry; these were all being traded for more casual venues. The big clubs were buzzing only on weekends. I felt like a well-done gourmet bar that paid ample attention to detail would definitely work in Mumbai. I also felt that the hospitality industry, especially the suburban bars in Mumbai, had a big gaping hole.
POSist: Everybody faces a different kind of challenges in their respective business. What was yours? How did you overcome them?
Dishant Pritamani: I think the biggest challenge or my biggest fear was my lack of experience in the industry. I didn’t have any massive financial backing, this risk was real and pretty much in my face, and I couldn’t afford to get it wrong. However, I made my weakness my strength. I was very aware of my inexperience and put that much more thought into the planning process and my final product. I considered myself at point zero and was willing to absorb everything. I could learn from any aspects of the business.
I turned my casual outings into a research, trying to identify trends, ideas, customer demographics, price points, etc.
And in today’s day and age, you always know someone who knows someone that can help out. I met Manav Chadda from Quench and Lakhan Jethani from Ibar helped me through the process of starting a restaurant in a super-competitive market.
POSist: Was getting licenses and permissions easy?
Dishant Pritamani: Basically the system isn’t an enabler. Despite the government making so much money in all forms of taxes through the hospitality industry, there probably hasn’t been a day where I haven’t been involved in some or the other non-restaurant work. It looked like an industry where the barriers to entering were pretty high, in the sense, no newbie could just enter the market since it involved multiple parties that you had to deal with including Excise, Police, Alcohol vendors, BMC, etc. All of these took me a year and 2 months to navigate and to go from conceptualization to realisation.
POSist: What is the USP of The Daily Bar and Kitchen? Who is your target customer?
Dishant Pritamani: The Daily is way more than a bar. We don’t just serve food and drinks…we go beyond that to put a smile on the customer’s face. Incidentally, not many people know this. But one of the prime reasons for selecting the name The Daily was – 1) We wanted to be your neighbourhood bar that you went to almost everyday, 2) To bring a smile on people’s faces on a “Daily” basis by giving them a good news. I can proudly say we’ve been operating for 2 and half years and we haven’t missed a single day where we haven’t give out a piece of good news (Ok, maybe two days we missed in total!) Anyone who wants to have a good time being surrounded by good news, amazing cocktails, and delicious food would sum it up.
PS: We’re a bar with some really good taste in music!
POSist: How do you reach your target customer?
Dishant Pritamani: Online (Social media, Whatsapp, Zomato) and doing interesting events from time to time such as FAMJAM (Film art and music) nights or Shigids, No phone nights, Cocktail Cockamamie. Etc. And of course through the word of mouth.
POSist: How do you ensure customers visit your bar again and again?
Dishant Pritamani: We always strive to do things differently, and better, so even when it comes to events or deals, we try to add an element of fun to it. Anyone that has been following our events will know that our events like Cocktail Cockamamie, No phone night, FamJam, etc are things that you probably wouldn’t find at any other bar. Without being boastful, I really think we put in a lot more thought and effort into running a bar on a daily basis.
POSist: How do you see social media as the marketing tool? Why is it important for any kind of food business?
Dishant Pritamani: Consumers have a strong desire to connect with brands and other consumers via social media. As a result, restaurants need to engage with their customers through mobile and social channels. Based on the comments and images that have been shared by other users, trust in social recommendations is on the rise.
POSist: What kind of technology you have integrated at your business? How does it help in managing the business?
Dishant Pritamani: We take all orders on a tablet which is linked to our POS System. It helps the waiter save a lot of time and effort and in turn increases productivity. It is pretty standard in today’s day and age. We have also installed cameras at the venue which gives me a live feed on my phone and helps me keep an eye on the business even when I’m not there.
POSist: What are the upcoming food trends in Restaurant and hospitality industry in 2016?
Dishant Pritamani: Plant-based everything—Plants are playing a meatier role in a surprising number of products, and not just for vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Home chefs, Local/regional cuisines, ‘GMO-free’ might just be the in thing among consumers. Juice Bars, South American (Colombian, Peruvian) and less commercial South-East Asian cuisines (Vietnamese, Korean, Sri Lankan, Cambodian).
The biggest challenge is to stay fresh in the minds of our customers.
POSist: How do you sum up 2015? How do you see coming years of your business?
Dishant Pritamani: 2015 was a bit of a roller coaster and quite a serious jump in the city’s hospitality industry growth trend. It’s like the gears have changed in this year. The first half of the year was pretty much as we expected, however, the latter half saw a ton of competition with a lot of investor faith that came in the form of affordable all day bars. However, it has settled and ended on a strong note so I’m not complaining here.
2015 was a year of concept restaurants and bars with defined offerings rather than generic ones. The future is exciting since the industry is changing pretty rapidly and definitely for the better. No more can one start a run of the mill restaurant and expect to survive. There are a variety of cuisines and concept restaurants, along with improved quality (of ingredients, service and general experience). From the consumer perspective, it’s pretty amazing. There are a ton of choices coming their way.
As told to The Restaurant Times by POSist