Now Chennai and Hyderabad will smell the Mocha - The New Indian Express

Now Chennai and Hyderabad will smell the Mocha

Published: 06th October 2013 03:11 PM

Last Updated: 06th October 2013 03:23 PM

After completing his masters in entertainment from UCLA, Riyaaz Amlani dabbled in the big bad world of Bollywood, before he launched a 500 sq ft café in Mumbai’s Churchgate in 2001—Mocha. Today Amlani’s company Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality (IEHPL) runs 38 restaurants across the country under different formats and brands, including Mocha – Coffees and Conversations, Salt Water Grill, Stone Water Grill, Smoke House Grill and Smoke House Deli. Last month, Amlani was elected as the vice-president of the restaurant body National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI). The current size of the Indian food service industry is Rs 2,47,680 crore, and is projected to grow to Rs 408,040 crore by 2018 at 11 per cent.

Vishakha Talreja speaks to Riyaaz Amlani about his company’s expansion plans, spreading wings down South in the cities of Chennai and Hyderabad. Excerpts:

What are Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality’s expansion plans?

We are planning aggressive expansion this year. We are targeting new cities such as Chennai and Hyderabad and also strengthening our presence in cities that we are already present in — Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. By the end of fiscal 2015, we plan to open 20 more restaurants across the country with two of our signature concepts – Mocha and Smoke House Deli. We have 22 outlets of Mocha – Coffees and Conversation across 11 cities whereas our five-year-old brand Smoke House Deli has six outlets in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Smoke House Deli’s brand will be extended to 16 outlets, while Mocha will open at four new locations. All the new outlets will be owned by the company.

What is the investment you are looking at for this expansion?

We are looking at investing about `30 crore for the expansion, which will be raised by a combination of internal accruals, debt and the previously received funds.

You have quite a few brands under IEHPL umbrella. 

Yes, that’s how it works for us creating new brands and concepts. In India, there are many other hospitality companies that have a bouquet of restaurant brands…So it’s quite a trend. In fact, we have not stopped. We are launching a new brand ‘Social’. Its first outlet will be in Bangalore that will open later this year.  ‘Social’ will be the next generation of cafés and will be a brand catering to the youth. Building from an all-day space where people form communities based on common interests and passions; Social will create a platform for guests to interact, engage and collaborate both online and offline. That’s what we do, we create unique restaurant concepts.

You have recently been elected as the vice-president of the National Restaurant Association of India. According to you what are the issues that the restaurant industry is facing?

We really need to do a lot of work as restaurant industry is grappling with high taxes and duties. For stand-alone restaurants there are tight curfews, which is also a burning issue. Strict property laws and overall inflation are some of the other problems our industry is currently facing. At the same time it’s getting more and more expensive to import liquor and premium ingredients and of course the real estate rentals are going up. So things are not that easy for the restaurant industry in India and by engaging with the government we need to work towards changing some laws.

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