- If you live in Delhi and you don’t know who is Priyank Sukhija. Then apke ghar Akhabar aur internet dono nahi aata. Priyank came up with an event in which he invited Bloggers / reviewers to run a Restaurant for a day. The winner would get an international holiday but there was lot more to learn and earn from this contest for the bloggers . I was one of the blogger who participated and following is my personal experience which I title “ Dinewithnikhilchawla
Choosing a Cuisine for Dinewithnikhilchawla
I got Open House which has recently changed its menu from Pan Asian to Multi cuisine. The Restaurant has the most prime location in India. So I had lot of potential when it came to pitching My idea for 1st April. Rather than going multi cuisine on only 4 dishes I wanted to focus on a Single cuisine. During Orientation Priyank suggested that Fusion and comfort food is something which is easy to sell. I went for Oriental Fusion food. If you know about the Manchurian story you would know how we Indians love Oriental fusion
Deciding the dishes
I visited the outlet and had a meeting with Ravi Sethi who is the very talented GM of open house. I was also provided with number of Chef Ashish who would guide me through the culinary challenges. Being a Restaurateur does not involve playing an instrument perfectly but it involves playing the orchestra. Coming to my conversation with Ravi, he told me that major chunk of sales comes from Alcohol and those too straight drinks. In food major sales of the restaurant came from appetizers and main course was something which most of the people avoided. And during my visit to the kitchen I also noticed that in less than an hour brownie was the only dessert ordered. So in dessert my focus would be something in chocolate. I also had a word with bartender and he told me that most cocktail which people ordered was LIIT.
With this information I went home thinking and working on the menu
My menu was
Japanese – Indian fusion – Briyani Sushi Tikka –
Chinese – American – Dimsum burgers
North Indian – Chinese – Manchurian Tikka
South Indian – Chinese – Rajnikanth’s lollypop / Idli Lollypop
Nuttela ice cream with fried snicker bar
Cocktail – Fruit punch LIIT
Trial– Day 1
The GM was very flexible and he encouraged me to come according to my free time. He wanted me to make my dishes perfectly. The menu would have not been possible without Chef Ashish ,as practical experience cannot be compromised.
On the first day we tried 5 batches of Marination for Manchurian tikka , the dimsum burgers just took one trial as I have tried this dish several times at my home. so was the case with ice cream. I come from a vegetarian family which means no Non veg in my home. So cooking non veg food at my home was out of the question. The nutella ice cream come up very well in the first go as I have tried it multiple times at my home.
Trials day 2
The time slot which I choose is always from 3 to 7 so that I can have a free time with the kitchen staff. The Sushi biryani took more than 3 to 4 trials with different kind of rice being used and finally the master piece was created. I always make sure that the GM taste all the dishes as he knew the palate of the customers very well. This was the first time we were trying Rajnikanth’s lollypop and after changing sauce 4 to 5 times we had a grip on the right sauce which would go well with the lollypop. 3 people from the kitchen team were specially appointed for making the dishes, 1 person from lord of the drinks was appointed to assemble the sushi. 2 people were made in charge for the plating of dishes
Promoting – Dinewithnikhilchawla
Running an online Magazine for more than 2 years I had an idea how to promote food.
Best way is to do social media tie up with a big brand such as Dineout and Delhi’s biggest Instagram Handle in food Delhi_foodie ( 27,000 followers ). This means I would leave a foot print with Dine with Nikhil Chawla online. I boosted food pictures and with the banner to the right audience for 7 days on Open house page for paid. Followed the same by promoting it on Hmm! Network .
One day Prior to Dine with Nikhil Chawla
One day before the event I planned a meeting with the serving staff and announced an incentive for the person selling the most value of the menu. The servers would be the one who would help multiply my effort in terms of sales .The winner would get a ticket to Ki and ka at Odean cinema. Khyati Minglani was appointed as the PR for the event and she got an amazing coverage in The Hindu after the event as promised.
Finally the day – Dinewithnikhilchawla
The restaurant opens at 12 and I was there at 11.30 am. Everything was prepared and I was waiting for the staff to come as the chefs who prepare my menu usually comes in late shift, but on requesting them they reach early. At 11:50 am, Someone ordered 2 portions of Sushi Biryani .This was 10 minutes before the place opened. Sushi chef who comes from Lord of the Drinks was not there. I made call to the head chef and understood that he would take more than 2 hours to come as there was some confusion. I went personally to talk to the customers and explain them the situation and suggested them something else from the menu .
They went for Rajnikanth’s lollypop and they loved it.
I have informed the servers that if they need my help explaining the order I would be there. People were curious with the menu as it was something which has never been done
We did not anticipate such level of sales and few of the items from the menu have to go for a prep 3 to 4 times . Manchurian Tikka veg was sold out at 6 pm even before we have gone into powerplay from 9 pm to 11pm
Friends , family , judges and bloggers visited and I loved hosting them all. Everyone loved something or the other from the menu. I called it a day by 12.30 am
Things I learned from Dinewithnikhilchawla
Being a restaurateur require you to work as a Chef , Pr , Brand ambassador and a Marketing head. It takes lot of patience, team work, creativity to create a brand like Open House. Customer is the king and end of the it’s what make or break the Restaurant business
It was like a dream come true for me and one of the most hectic day in many years. It was like starting a new phase but I did not feel tired as Food is my passion. The day after I missed all the action but it’s not the end
It’s just beginning
I will be back with a full menu version of Dine with Nikhil Chawla