“Our eye is not on making the money, its on making the brand”- Chaitanya Mathur & Mani Singh, Co-Founders, The Grub Fest
With the event industry experimenting with the diversity of events it can organize, food was always considered as a supporting element to most events and never really was an event solely conceived with the main spotlight only on food. The last 5 years however provided a catalytic boost and food exhibitions and festivals have proven to be major crowd churners.
In the past year, the country welcomed the first of its kind New Delhi Palate Fest and a mini edition of the same that recently concluded. Another major addition to the events circuit in this category is The Grub Fest, scheduled to be held from April 3-5 at Jawarhalal Nehru lawns. Being the brainchild of young entrepreneurs Aman Kumar, Arjun Jain, Chaitanya Mathur & Mani Singh who have a considerable background in the event industry, wanted to showcase the very best of India's food flavors by means of a festival.
EE, caught up with co-founders Chaitanya Mathur & Mani Singh on the engaging elements at The Grub Fest, the main highlights and the future ahead for the brand. Here are the excerpts from the exclusive interview..
Q- Having a food carnival of its own is a newer concept in India. What led you to conceptualize an event like The Grub Fest?
Chaitanya Mathur- We were very inspired by global food festivals like the Taste of London and Bite of Chicago. We really look up to these festivals and our team actually went down there for research. We are still in touch with the organizers of these festivals to understand what they are doing, how are they bringing people together to enjoy various cuisines and hence it became very interesting to us when we decided to start conceptualizing about bringing something like this to India.
Mani Singh - Speaking for me, I love food and I have been blessed with opportunities to travel. Hence I always wondered how to bring both of them under one umbrella. Grub being the other name for food, we wanted to get all the variety of food and food lovers under at one place. I think it’s going to be a great platform for everyone to come and enjoy cuisines and experience restaurants that they might not go to.
Q- We have already seen a New Delhi Palate Fest being organized before in Delhi so how is The Grub Fest going to differentiate itself?
Chaitanya Mathur - To be honest, I have no idea what they did but from what I have come to know it has been fantastic. Obviously they have tested water and it is also encouraging to us that something like this has already happened here on this scale. As far as the differences are concerned we definitely have a large place which is JLN stadium which allows us with facilities of parking, spaces, production and as a food carnival we are investing heavily on our entertainment and also marketing.
Mani Singh - As engaging elements we have food trucks, a grub market, organic bazaar, non food items, drones flying around which have a 100% engagement rate, we have a valet parking and we also have a dedicated 5000 sq feet kid’s area which is a safe environment and has gaming stations and activity stations there. We have also created a playground and mini playground for the kids. Many people come and ask us what is the target age group for The Grub Fest and my reply is our target is the age group of 1-99. This is an event that people of every age can come to and have a good time.
Q- The New Delhi Palate Fest featured several art Installations. Can art aficionados expect the same from The Grub Fest?
Chaitanya Mathur- Well, that’s a surprise for now as we want you to get surprised when you get there. But it is going to be fun as we have kept in mind the trending fashions and the social media age. We are not only doing art installations, but we are also doing installations for children and elders.
Mani Singh- We also have some food critics that we have coming, who will be called as the food police. We also have a demonstration area where we will have chefs like Vicky Ratnani, Chef Nishant Cahoubey and Roshan D’souza presenting. Also the Indian culinary forum will take place, on Friday, 3 April.
Q- Contrary to other food festivals you have an entry fee of 100 INR. Is this a revenue channel or is it a filtering technique towards the audience?
Chaitanya Mathur- Festivals around the world have an entry fees and at the scale that we are organizing The Grub Fest and also from the general point of view of a food carnival has to be ticketed because of the scale of entertainment that we are serving. I mean if you are coming to witness someone like a Vir Das you need to have it ticketed.
Mani Singh-We have had so many things to consider while we have been busy organizing Grub fest be it food, seating, entertainment or the environment around and at some level it is very important for us to recover a certain level of our investment. It’s not a filtering technique as we want more and more people to come and enjoy.
Q- What is the ROI you speculate at the moment? Are there any sponsors?
Chaitanya Mathur- It’s definitely a high scale investment project but at the same time it’s not about the money that we are making but the brand that we are creating. It’s a property that we aim to make over the next 5 years; this is not a onetime affair as this is something we want to take all over India and possibly internationally as well. We do have a yes bank as a powered by sponsor, we also have had a lot of support from Zomato. We have a drone partner as well.
Mani Singh –Yes, we are working towards building a brand and you have to look at the figures long-term. I think when we have established a brand its only then we can expect to make money but as far as the first edition is concerned I think we are going to be really lucky even if we break-even. Moving forward, it looks like we will be organizing The Grub Fest in November for Bombay but we're trying to squeeze in Bangalore before that as weather plays a very important role. Also cities like Pune, Chennai, Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore as part of our plans as we are giving platforms to newer restaurants to to showcase their abilities.
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