Riyaaz Amlani of Smoke House Deli indicates that the way forward for him will be to focus on the café model. He believes online food businesses will have minimal impact on offline restaurants
Riyaaz Amlani, the CEO and managing director of Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality is no stranger to the Indian food business. Right from the café model, Mocha and fine dining model, Salt Water Café to the casual dining model Smoke House Deli, he has covered both ends of the value chain in a matter of 13 years.
Today, after setting up 33 outlets across 11 cities and recording a topline of Rs. 82 crore in FY14, Amlani is still bullish about the casual dining model, and feels that the way forward for him will be to focus on the café model. “While a fine dining restaurant will record a seating inventory of 0.9 per table, a café will touch three. This means, compared to a fine dining restaurant, a café will be cheaper by almost 50 per cent and it will record more sales than the former,” he says.
He believes that the growing penetration of online food businesses will not impact the brick and mortar segment. “We are talking about people choosing to order food home instead of socialising and celebrating occasions in person,” he opines. In fact, he believes that there is renewed venture capital interest in the retail space more than in the food and beverage segment. “Today, customers touch and feel products in a retail store and buy the same product online. This means, the number of retail outlets will reduce over a period and more real estate space will be released for the food and beverage segment,” he indicates.
According to Amlani the technology in offline restaurants will be restricted to making backend and frontend operations more efficient. In simpler words, better customer data will help such businesses curate food and cuisines that are more in tune with customer requirements, thus creating a win-win situation for both. “Even our investors expect to see a 30 per cent topline and bottomline growth year-on-year. This is because the Indian consumer is becoming more mature and we have a bigger opportunity to tap into,” he indicates.Casual Dining Food Technology Riyaaz Amlani Smokehouse Deli