Anjan Chatterjee, Founder & Managing Director of Speciality Restaurants says that the focus, he says, is shifting from â€˜fine dining‘ to â€˜fun dining‘, which will be an important focus area for the company.
The company has a pan-India presence and has various brands including Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta, Hoppipola and Sigree under its umbrella.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Chatterjee says despite the floods, he expects better year. The company plans to add 10 to 12 new restaurants every year, he says adding that the company is debt free and has cash for investments.
The focus, he says, is shifting from ‘fine dining’ to ‘fun dining’, which will be an important focus area for the company. Places like Hoppipola are doing exceedingly well in this segment, he adds.
Below is the verbatim transcript of Anjan Chatterjee’s interview with Anuj Singhal and Ekta Batra on CNBC-TV18.
Anuj: What has been the consumption trend over the last few months and from your point of view what kind of investments will you be making in setting up new restaurants?
A: Historically we have been adding around 10-12 restaurants a year. As you know, we are a debt free company and we have funds lying with us and the mandate is to expand. One of the things which we have seen over a period that while fine dining stays and we are the largest player in India, we have actually identified another area which has been an extension with the coming in of Hoppípolla, Cafe Mezzuna and the Asia Kitchen by Mainland China, so we have seen another side of the dining space which is changing, it is a part of the trends which are changing, we keep on researching them.
So, we are very bullish on the fun dining section because fine dining stays where it is which is there and it is obviously when you have a discretionary pressure, spending pressure, we do suffer, we have been suffering over a period of time and we are waiting for the turn of the economy so things can be better.
However, there is another space which I am talking about the fun dining which is in the space which is more breakfast to dinner kid of a place, more younger in terms of look. So, the Asia Kitchen has also been an answer to that and we have got very good response from there. Obviously they will take a little time to stabilize.
Ekta: How much would your capex be within fun dining and in the next couple of months and also if you could just detail to us how have festive sales been for you, maybe October-November and now in December?
A: Usually it is the best time of the season because everybody is going out and eating but unfortunately the Chennai fiasco has completely wiped off a large part. Even now the operations are not in place and we are still struggling very badly because we have to do a lot of cleansing, a lot of repair work, etc. We have many restaurants in Chennai and also partly Bangalore which has been affected with this; not as much as Chennai. So, that is the only challenge we have but otherwise it has been a very good trend.
I can’t predict my numbers as yet because they are not out but then by and large this is the best possible quarter. However, the only point I am making is that we are continuing to add 10-12 restaurants by and large one per year because we have the mandate, we have the wherewithal and we have the money.
The only point is that because of the new restaurants the EBITDA is getting a little dragged because of the fact that the break-even is delayed. So, hence there is a possibility of certain kinds of numbers not coming as per the expectations.
However, I am quite confident of the fact that as I have always stressed that we are a long-term player, we are here to stay, we have stayed for a long time, we have taken a lot of shocks overall in the economy but I am quite confident of the fact that we have a dedicated customer and then as we go ahead with the fun dining being added, we are very bullish.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.