Difference of opinion is a part of the business, says Indigo's Anurag Katiar
On the table for the owners of Indigo is new CEO Anurag Katiar and an investment of up to USD 30 million. Here is what's next on the menu.
The investors behind Indigo, Indigo Deli, Neel, Tote on the Turf and Moveable Feast were in the news earlier this year, when founder Rahul Akerkar left over differences in opinion. Now, there's a new CEO on the scene and he's taking the brand forward with a partnership with India Value Fund Advisors who have committed to invest up to US$30 million. New Director and CEO deGustibus Hospitality Anurag Katiar talks to ETPanache about the future plans for the brand.
Are you excited about the partnership with India Value Fund Advisors?
Absolutely. We will have a national footprint soon. We are already present in Mumbai and Delhi and in the next 12 months, we are looking to be in a few of the other cities like Pune and Bengaluru.
How much involvement will India Value Fund Advisors have with the processes in deGustibus?
It is clear that they are investors and will not participate in the day-to-day management of the restaurants. We will, of course, be sharing plans with each other at a board-level but they will surely not come into one of the restaurants and tell us that the burger is not tasting good (laughs).
What do you plan on doing with the funding?
There are two parts to it. The first is to consolidate the existing brands and to take them to a larger ground. We are expanding them but also, creating new brands that are easily scalable. There is nothing concrete as yet.
Rahul Akerkar faced problems with investors. Have you learnt anything from him?
It's not that he alone has faced this problem — it was a difference of opinion. It happens. It's part of the business. But, yes, I have learnt something from that. It's important to keep ownership and managerial-ship at two different levels. It's best not to mix them.
The brand is synonymous with Rahul Akerkar. How do you plan on making the brand go beyond the person who founded it?
Of course, the brand is synonymous with Rahul. But one mistake people make is that they think he only created the restaurants. The truth is he created an enterprise. He has put together a wonderful team with many of the chefs and staff being here from the inception. They have learnt from him and grown with him. Now they are on their own feet and they have a pride in maintaining that standard.
It was rumoured that he would come on as a consultant. Is that happening?
Rahul and I have been friends for more than a decade. We talk but it's nothing formal. We would love to have him in any capacity. That said, he's in a nice space right now — travelling and eating a lot! It's what he always wanted to do. He once told me that he didn't need to grow and that he was happy to travel and spend time with family. That's what he's doing now.