Relishing success with Theme Restaurants

Abha Garyali Peer
Abha Garyali Peer Sep 29 2017 - 4 min read
Relishing success with Theme Restaurants
With eating out in restaurants becoming more of a necessity than a trend, it was time for restaurateurs to take their biz a notch higher with ‘Theme based restaurants’!

As per reports of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Technopak, the size of the food services market in India was estimated at $48 billion in 2013. However, it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11 per cent over the next five years to reach $78 billion by 2018.

An excellent cuisine and a chef can do wonders for any restaurant, but in order to attract and retain customers, the ambience or the ‘over-all feel’ of the restaurant always adds an extra push. This is what ‘theme based restaurants’ are all about. In theme based restaurants, the concept takes the priority over everything else, influencing the architecture, food, music etc.

Eat-tertainment’ leading to theme based restaurants
With the mushrooming of so many restaurants in the country, customers have more choices than ever, and higher expectations than ever. Therefore, restaurant owners need to create experiences that are distinctive and compelling in order to capture the attention of customers.

The concept of theme based restaurants originated in the 1930’s in the western countries. However, in India it was only in early 1990’s that few restaurant owners adopted the concept to pep up their biz. It is well known that the youth constitutes the biggest ratio of ‘eating out’ and what’s better than eating-out in a rock-n-roll restaurant, or in a sports themed bar.Rish Saini, Co-CEO & Director of Marketing, Underdoggs Sports Bar & Grill shared, “Theme based restaurants in India are on a growth curve unlike witnessed in any country. The amount of focus on innovation and the thought process behind every theme based restaurant and bar is quite fascinating. Well thought out interiors, décor and menu design that captivates the consumer and gives a feeling of nostalgia or something they can relate to.”

Restaurateurs cashing out with ‘themes’
The success of restaurateurs engaged in the concept is the biggest proof that theme restaurants drive much more customer attention and business as compared to that of a normal restaurant. Who would not want to enter and experience a totally different kind of atmosphere and ‘feel’, whether it is in a rock n roll restaurant, a village setting, a rainforest theme dine-in restaurant , a sports bar or a stock-exchange bar? According to a Spokesperson for Johnny Rockets, “Johnny Rockets operates more than 350 franchise and corporate locations in 28 countries around the world. It is conceptualised on the belief that everyone deserves a place where they can escape from today’s complicated world and experience the uncomplicated goodness of classic Americana.” According to Saini of Underdoggs, “Underdoggs has been religiously focused on its theme as a sports bar. It’s important for a brand to build on its core strengths and better develop their brand identity over time.”

Success the Franchise way
No one can deny that the fastest way for a brand to become a chain is through the franchise route. Many international brands have forayed in India via the franchise route, by partnering with some national company who know the Indian business rules well. As informed by Johnny Rockets spokesperson, “Founded in 1986, Johnny Rockets is an American brand, which has been introduced in India by Primegourmet Pvt Ltd. Owned by Barbeque Nation Hospitality, it has four restaurants in Delhi-NCR. On 27th January, 2014 we came up with our first franchised restaurant in Delhi. The idea to tie up with this classic Americana Brand was to expand the purview of our beloved Indian food from the conventional burgers and shakes companies and to introduce a culture of food service with big smiles and live dance performances.”

Likewise Indian brands also adopt the franchise way to fool proof their business in any city or country. On taking the franchise route for expansion, Saini said, “Franchising is a solid method for expanding a restaurant business model. Investor interest, fresh capital and expansion to new cities have been our motive for franchising. In India every city is different in terms of taste, local language, government regulations and consumer mentality, so tying up with a local partner in the form of a franchisee is of great beneficial value.”

Franchise requisites
In order for a debutant or emerging entrepreneur to become a successful franchisee, he/ she should ideally be an active participant in the running of the day to day business. The more involved a franchisee, the greater the likelihood of success. As informed by Saini of Underdoggs, “Management is typically handled by Underdoggs corporate team for the first year of operations while the franchisee finds their bearings, understands the business model & standard operating procedures. An investment of around Rs 4000 per square foot is the typical investment figure. Our footprint depends on location and ranges anywhere from 2000-6000 sq. ft. So an investment in an Underdoggs franchise starts at 1crore and upwards.”

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