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How to turn khana into khazana

The restaurant business is difficult. Seasoned campaigner Gaurav Goenka, MD of Mirah Hospitality, tells you how to sell your donut and eat it too.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: May 27, 2015, 09.59 AM IST
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 The restaurant business is difficult. Seasoned campaigner Gaurav Goenka, MD of Mirah Hospitality, tells you how to sell your donut and eat it too.
 The restaurant business is difficult. Seasoned campaigner Gaurav Goenka, MD of Mirah Hospitality, tells you how to sell your donut and eat it too.
Mirah Hospitality's MD, Gaurav Goenka, comes from a family that made its fortune in real estate for generations. But that hasn't stopped him from making his passion for food a full time vocation. Aside from his own restaurant brands like Rajdhani and Cafe Mangii, Goenka has strategic investments in Riyaaz Amlani's Impresario (Smoke House Deli, Social), Mad Over Donuts (MoD) and Zorawar Kalra's Massive Restaurants (Masala Library, Made in Punjab).

Goenka shares with ETPanache his investment philosophy and the lessons he has picked during a decade spent in the food business.

Taking Masala Library pan-India

I agree Masala Library is not a very scalable model. But there is room for it, at least in the four metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata). We are definitely looking at taking the restaurant to Delhi. We've narrowed down to a few locations.

Shutting Ping Pong

Ping Pong wasn't received well by the Indian consumers. We were categorised as a Chinese place but actually it was just a dim sum place. So after you ate your five dim sum, you said ab khana leke aao. But that was it. There was no main course. These things could have been easily corrected. However the promoters of Ping Pong weren't flexible on this.

Picking the right location

Social (Colaba) was done just for the presence. It's always better to launch a brand in South Mumbai. The whole feel is better. Yet, it was not the ideal launchpad for Social (in Mumbai). We always wanted a big space. But getting a big space in Colaba is near impossible. So Todi Mills is actually the real Social if you ask me, given its size.

Admiring competition

We invested in Mad Over Donuts because it is different, it is fully vegetarian and enjoys the first mover advantage. That said, Krispy Kreme's glazed donut is the world's best donut that I've eaten. Better than MoD also. But there is no comparison for MoD's filled donuts.

I feel the Mamagoto guys are doing a good job. Before they came in, Asian food was serious and boring. They've brought a cool quotient to Asian food. There is a bar that is happening, there's music and colourful, vibrant spaces. I like what they are doing.
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