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BW Businessworld

Big Fish Venture To Invest Rs 200 Crore In 2016

Umang Tewari talks about his expansion plans for tier-II and tier-III cities and his association with Bollywood veteran Dharmendra

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Food is an integral part of our daily routine and we want something extra and delicious to celebrate each occasion be it festivals, birthdays, anniversary and New Year Eves. The place, food and ambience play an important role when we choose a restaurant for dining out. Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi and a hub for shopping brands and eating joints, is the perfect place to invest in the hospitality business. Umang Tewari, founder of Big Fish Venture, understood this. He says that the location plays an important role in bringing the young traffic and old guns together in one place. He has completed his MBA to pursue his dream in the hospitality business. Tewari spoke to BW Businessworld about his expansion plans for tier II and tier III cities and his association with Bollywood veteran Dharmendra Singh.

On Idea And Innovation
I belong to a family with real estate background. I ventured into hospitality in 2002 with Oxygen - purely out of sheer passion. Hailing from non-hospitality background, it was food and music fascination that inspired me to venture into this foray. I did my MBA from the UK, where I also worked in a cafe for experience and exposure. I just worked for exposure, but that exposure nurtured hospitality in me, and I came with the dream to open my place. I opened Oxygen in 2002 which was music destination for all party lovers. After that I got back to the restaurant industry with OTB, Raas & Skooter. I believe, if you are passionate about building your dream, there is no stopping. Hence I got this into field with all hard work and dreams and with support of my family.

On Brands And USP
Currently, we have four brands under the Big Fish Ventures - Vault Café, Garam Dharam, Junkyard and Public Connection. In 2016, we plan to open Three Pegs Down, OMG and many more outlets with the investment of Rs 200 crore.

Vault Cafe - Vault café is a vintage industrial ambiance visualised as a storehouse of British East India Company. The quirky ideas of dine and party inside the vault was prevalent in the past of the Queen's nation, which acts as the core concept of the thematic café space. The transformative café par lounge bar has been visualised with rustic interiors architecture with colonial influences to bring in the theme of the Colonial era. The semi-classical ambience is treated in distressed grunge finishes; offset with steam-era style exposed iron bracing works creates an unusually elegant yet boldly stylish ambience. Treatments such as exposed cement, raw wood, and exposed metal all held together in an enigmatic awe of colonial beauty. The place is the only place to have five separate PDR 's with big vault locks, key to which takes you to impeccable food, innovative drinks, contemporary ambience and flawless service. Dressed in neo classical Colonial age inspired furniture and interiors, this retro styled joint is not something the city has yet seen, or heard. At Vault you are transformed 250 years back in time were colonial powers came looking for the silk route and the spice kingdom. At vault we find all these treasures hidden and much more. Vault is hyper thematic with expressive décor, state of art sound and light and a mouthwatering F&B overlay to complement that.

Garam Dharam - Garam Dharam, a concept restaurant inspired from Veteran actor Dharmendra. Fun, quirky, lively, and innovative and foodies' paradise are just the few words to describe first Dharam Garam.

Junkyard Cafe- Junkyard Cafe is a luxurious and spacious cafe nestled in heart of the capital- Connaught Place with Junkyard charm combined with plush comfort. Spread over 13000, sq. ft, Junkyard Cafe derives its inspiration from Junkyard, which is yard used to Store Junk. How can Junk be utilized, and that too in the most beautiful way is quite evident in Junkyard. It brings out the raw junk world, which is Grungy, contemporary and at the same time very exclusive.

Public Connection - Café Public Connection derives its inspiration from those networking sources that connects people. Spread over 8500 sq feet, Café Public Connection has different private dining rooms inspired from different themes. While there is one PDR inspired from sports theme, other is inspired from retro theme. There is also rooms for Hollywood, political and industrial inspired themes.

On Franchisee Model
As of now we are concentrating on the company's owned outlets. However if in future, we get into franchise set up, we will peer retaining few shares in it to make sure that our concepts are being run with equal sincerity and there is uniformity in company owned and franchise models.

On Investment And Breakable
Restaurant industry is everyday investment. After building the brick and mortar place, we need running funds always for marketing. Everyday restaurant industry brings challenges and we need keep ready enough food (events, artists, campaigns and more) to feed our customers.

We invest Rs 4-5 crore per outlet per month and have reached breakables returns of around Rs 30-40 crore in a year for all the places.

On Teams Up With Bollywood Actor Dharmendra
This idea was originated purely because of my love for food and movies. Being true Delhiites, we love to eat Dhaba food especially on highways and on road journeys. Whenever I am on highways I always used to see good crowd stopping at Dhabas for dal makhani and paranthas. Thus, there is craving for Dhaba food. Hence I decided to open Dhaba inspired outlet with a loud and catchy songs as Dhabawalas play to cheer you up.

I am trying to make a fusion of food and music through this new Bollywood theme restaurant. The music is the USP of our outlets for instance, we play only Hollywood/pop numbers at Vault Cafe and Punjabi/Bollywood song at Garam Dharam.

On my trip to Mumbai I discussed this (Garam Dharam cafe) idea with veteran actor Dharmendra Ji, and he said he would love to be a part of it, as he loves Punjabi food and songs. Thus, we decided to make Garam Dharam where Bollywood actor Dharmendra also contributed in interior designs to make it look more Bollywood style. Surely, we take this partnership further to enhance our presence in the market. We have already opened 4-5 outlets of Garam Dharam in Delhi. And also planning to open Dhaba version of the same in Murthal, the Dhaba destination on famous GT Karnal Road.

On Expansion Plans For Tier II And Tier III cities
We are targeting metro cities at present such as Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Chandigarh and Bangalore which have young aspiring population and want to spend money at places rich in concepts, events and food. Of course, we have plans for Tier II and Tier III cities for brands like Garam Dharam which have mass acceptance.

On Different Themes
The names are different because the places and concepts are different. We want to expand both the ways. We want to reach out different clients with different concepts. And we also want to expand as a brand. Apart from opening different concept outlets, we are working on the expansion plans of Garam Dharam, The Junkyard Café & Vault café which are soon to open in South Delhi and West Delhi. Apart from domestic expansion, we have international expansion in mind, and we are planning to take our brands to the international level in Dubai, Canada and China.