Food is the largest retail consumption category in India, accounting for around 33% of overall consumption expenditure. The purchasing and spending power of Tier-3 cities is increasing rapidly and so is the consumer demand for restaurants that can offer not just quality food but also memorable experiences. Disruptions by the innovative young foodpreneurs fuelled by evolving consumer palate have made their way into hitherto conservative Indian kitchens. Some of the young dynamic foodpreneurs, with their sheer passion and hard work, have tasted success beating all odds even with no prior experience in the field. Meet Ankit Bansal, Director of Bansal Foods, who started his restaurant six years back as a student, has brought a transformation of sorts in the dining circuit of Mathura.
Ankit belongs to a family that is primarily into the business of Construction and Building Materials in Mathura. His decision to enter the hospitality sector happened by chance. Flash back to 2012, while he was in his first year of B.B.A. course, Ankit planned to go out for dinner with his family one day. Those days, there were quite limited dine-out options that offered good ambience with great food. The only options available were either the Dhabas or the Hotels.
Dhabas offered tasty food but lacked the ambience whereas luxury hotels offered ambience but their food lacked the lip smacking taste of the dhabas. Affordability was also an issue with the hotels.
Ankit had to opt for a hotel that day but this incident left a lasting impression on him. He realized there was an unmet demand in Mathura for a restaurant that offers tasty food with good ambience, especially for families. He kept on working on this concept and started researching in this field. His family supported his idea and agreed to allow the use of their property off a busy street of Krishna Nagar for this purpose. With property secured, his next key goal was to form the crucial team of chef and his associates.
I always knew that having good people was important, but I’m not sure we realized how much important it is in this field. It’s not enough to get someone who is qualified. You need to find someone who believes in you and your vision in order to grow together.
Once the chef and his team of associates were onboard in Jun 2013, Ankit’s focus was to leave no stone unturned to launch his venture as soon as possible. His family members joined him in setting up the interiors, organising the supply chain and staffing of the restaurant. Their experience in Building and Construction field helped him. They got things set up and running in a record time of 30 days and Bansal Foods was launched in Jul 2013.
I realized that this field is so different from the Construction and Building materials field. Cash outflow in this field is maximum in maintenance and fixed expense. Since we were already running in negative cashflows, it was paramount for us to launch the restaurant operations quickly.
In the initial years, Ankit focussed on setting up Bansal Foods as a brand recognized for customer satisfaction. Maintaining food quality has always been their prime focus. They started getting positive reviews, their fame spread through word of mouth and their food started bringing in more and more customers. They also ensured to get more visibility for their brand by participating in various local events of Mathura.
When a customer dines at a restaurant, food is just half of the story. It’s the overall experience that counts, including the way diners are treated by your staff. We were able to reach this far only because we take customer feedback very seriously and act on it.
♦ Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Mathura 2015 by Brands Academy
♦ Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Mathura 2016 by Right Choice Awards
♦ Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Uttar Pradesh 2017 by Katalyst Research
♦ Best Restaurant in Mathura Award by The Times of India Agra Group 2017
♦ Best Quality Vegetarian Restaurant in Uttar Pradesh 2018 by Katalyst Research
In the last six years, Bansal Foods has grown leaps and bounds. They have expanded their capacity in the existing property and have also diversified with venturing into catering services in 2017 and baking and confectionary domain in 2018. Ankit plans to bring in more efficiencies at Bansal Foods while they continue to focus on growing other verticals. Besides his food enterprise, Ankit is a member of many organisations working for social causes. He is also the member of Uttar Pradesh chapter of PHD Chamber of Commerce.
Our competitors mocked at me initially because of my young age and inexperience in this field but with God’s grace and family’s support I could turn the tides. We were able to change their outlook. Infact, many dhabas have converted into restaurant format now.
Starting a restaurant is not just about food. In fact, it makes up only about half of the restaurant success equation. Of course the food needs to be exceptional but restaurants are businesses first and hence customer service, management and promotional skills are also vital. Under the able leadership of Ankit Bansal, Bansal Foods has cracked this formula and is set for transforming the dining circuit in Mathura in the years to come.