A graduate in Business Economics from Delhi University, Tushar Gulati belongs to a business family in Delhi, with no background in the restaurant space. He has been an avid foodie since he was a child. The only driving factor in opting for an entirely different line of business was the fascination for the FnB business topped up with his passion for food. Finally, Tushar came up with Band Baaja Baaraat, a wedding theme based restaurant focusing on the hype and vibes of weddings.
An upmarket Punjabi wedding-themed buffet restaurant in Rajouri Garden spread across an area of 3,500 sqft, Band Baaja Baaraat serves multi cuisine dishes, with live counters churning out Golgappas and Chaats, that will remind you of the food you have at weddings. Moreover, the royal ambiance, starting with the beautiful golden cage at the entrance to multi-colored floral decorations, fancy mirrors, and the sophisticated yet comfortable sofas, accompanied with peppy Bollywood numbers in the background only add to the extravaganza.
In Conversation With Tushar Gulati Of Band Baaja Baaraat
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Tushar Gulati talks about his journey in the industry, the challenges of running a restaurant, his business plans and a lot more.
There are many operational challenges that restaurant owners go through regularly, but according to Gulati, acquiring licenses for opening a restaurant and the persistent shortage of trained staff.
In licensing, the process is already exhausting. The regular changes in government laws affect the process of getting licenses making it a tedious process.
Secondly, there’s a shortage of well-trained staff in the restaurant industry. It is difficult to find qualified personnel who can be retained since they are always on the move for better salaries and exposure. Losing a team member is hard on the business. According to Gulati, it can cost a lot of money every time someone quits, and keeping the costs down becomes very difficult.
‘We take the hiring process very seriously. Hiring to merely fill a void in the kitchen can negatively impact the working process and throw off the adequacy in the back of the house. Instead, source the candidates methodically and comprehensively. Developing a structured and rigorous restaurant hiring plan is essential. Hiring the right person can save you time and money in the long run. Take the extra steps in the hiring process to make sure you only onboard the most dedicated professionals this industry has to offer’, adds Gulati.
‘The key is to hire people who are intuitive and empathetic. We train our employees to pick up on the customers’ cues, and this results in better customer service and increased customer retention.’
What Makes A Restaurant A Success
According to Gulati, finding a good location with nominal rent has always been the biggest challenge. The rates are obnoxiously high in Delhi. If a restaurant is in the wrong place, it won’t captivate the chunk of customers you need to survive in the business. The same is true if the location is submerged with competitors, or has poor visibility, or is hard to find.
It is essential to have an understanding of the market and the competition. If there are too many establishments offering the same menu as yours, then it could undervalue your brand. So it is imperative to do proper market research to determine the competition in your area. ‘The more research you do before settling on a location, the better the chances of success will be there,’ says Gulati.
Despite being surrounded by a number of restaurants and bars in Rajouri Garden, New Delhi, Band Bajaa Baaraat has captured the audience by providing a unique wedding theme experience, differentiating them from the competitors.
In the restaurant business, profit margins are razor thin and repeat customers are critical. Gulati has made an art of making his customers feel welcome, tracking their likes and dislikes.
The Food Delivery Business
Restaurants with higher APC have typically stayed away from the online food delivery trend since the competition from small restaurants and cloud kitchens is immense. However, this trend is changing and such restaurants are now also adapting to cater to the online food delivery demand.
Despite having a full-service establishment Band Baaja Baaraat offers online food delivery to cater to a wider audience base. ‘Takeaway may not be the largest, but it is the fastest growing sector of the restaurant business. Many consumers want good food delivered in less time and at less cost than at a full-service restaurant,’ says Gulati.
Talking about his plans, Gulati says, ‘The good part about the restaurant industry is that it will never experience a recession because people will always want to eat and drink. But, it is the competition that drains you. I want people to experience my restaurant in the same way that I feel for it. I strive to enhance that experience every time, by always exceeding their expectations,’
The initial plan is to launch Band Baaja Baaraat in other cities, under the same brand name, highlighting different themes, from royal to destination weddings. Gulati says that they are open to the Franchise option since they are targeting the next 10 BBB outlet in 2 years. Some of them will be company-owned and some would be franchise outlets. ‘As we plan to expand in Tier two and Tier three cities, it is better to have a local partner and our franchised outlet will be on FoCo (Franchised owned company operated) model. The process of making our support system for the franchise has already begun’, says Gulati.