Thursday, 29 August 2013

Dhaba All Set to Go Places with Stand-Alone Brand


By Sourish Bhattacharyya
WITH average daily sales of Rs 2 lakh (and with weekends delivering Rs 3 lakh-plus a day), Dhaba at The Claridges, Aurangzeb Road, serves up delicious returns for every inch of its 1,800 square feet (and its total area, by the way, includes the dispensing kitchen). It has been pulling it off since 1984 with a kitschy decor, old Bollywood numbers, cheek-by-jowl seating and the legendary draw of its Balti Meat. But as Dhaba prepares for its 40th birthday next autumn, it is getting ready to spread its wings.
Dhaba has been a consistent heavy hitter since 1984 on the
strength of its authentic menu and the warmth of its ambience
The new stand-alone brand, Dhaba by The Claridges -- opening at DLF Place, Saket, and The Hub, the country's first 'food mall' at DLF Cyber Park, Gurgaon, before the year-end -- will have completely different vibes. For starters, the two outlets will occupy larger space (4,000 square feet at DLF Place, Saket, and 2,400 square feet at The Hub) and have more seating (120 and 100, respectively). The key differentiator, though, will be APC (average price per cover) -- Rs 700-750 with one beverage (beer at these restaurants will be priced at Rs 100).
The music will be contemporary Bollywood. The servers will sport short kurtas, cargoes and Aldo shoes to convey of Indian cuisine going global. The menu will be studded with instant hits such as sheermal rolls, bun maska omelette and fruit-flavoured lassi (some of the flavours are unusual: jamun, pear, plum and kiwi).
The Great Kebab Factory, a UMAK Hospitality product which has spread its wings to 18 locations (including Bangkok and Muscat), has shown the way for five-star restaurant brands seeking to establish an independent identity for the country's growing mall market. Dhaba by The Claridges comes backed by an impressive lineage. The only way it can tank is by not delivering its promises, which look highly unlikely.