From Packed Venues To Locked Venues, We Have Seen It All: Vikrant Batra On Cafe Delhi Heights' Completion Of 10 Years
Café Delhi Heights is an outcome of the positive attitude of our team, our consistency, and the unbounded love we have received from customers, says Vikrant Batra.
Not many people can resist the quirky yet relatable charm of Café Delhi Heights. Brainchild of Vikrant and Sharad Batra, this brand redefined the meaning of all-day casual neighbourhood dining and continues to be at the forefront of the culinary space in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Pune, Gurgaon, and Noida, even after 10 years. On the momentous occasion of the brand completing a decade, Founder Vikrant Batra spoke exclusively to Everything Experiential.
Congratulations on completing 10 years of CDH! Please tell us about the journey so far.
My family has been in the catering and banqueting industry for years, so food was a significant part of our upbringing. From trips abroad, we realized there was a vacuum of cafes in our city. This led us to create a space where people of all generations could sit together comfortably to unwind, chill and enjoy a meal. We launched the first Café Delhi Heights in 2011 at Cross Point Mall, Gurugram, shattering this Indian belief that cafes are meant only for coffee. We wanted to bring a quirky café with a casual atmosphere to the people of Delhi and this struck a chord with our patrons, who have made us what we are today.
What have been some of the most memorable moments of this journey?
It might sound clichéd, but every day of this journey has been memorable. Café Delhi Heights is such an intrinsic part of me that if I’m asked my age, I respond with 10 years of Café Delhi Heights, 25 outlets and 1000 team members! Just imagine, we began with a team of 24 people and 1 outlet at Crosspoint Mall – and we have come a long way since then. We’re also particularly proud of introducing Café Culture to India, making our space a happy place where people can enjoy casual dining. We’re also tremendously happy with our Juicy Lucy burgers and the simple elements we introduced around it to keep our customers engaged, like the ‘Number of Burgers Sold’ displayed on slates in each outlet.
What according to you, has ensured continued success for Cafe Delhi Heights over the years?
Café Delhi Heights is an outcome of the positive attitude of our team, our consistency, and the unbounded love we have received from customers. We began in an era where Café was a new term, and so we defined the expectations from this concept. Food for every palate is provided, and our customers especially appreciate the planned chaos of fun elements we introduce from time to time. Also, we have never changed our vision and our outlook – it is exactly the same as it was when it began. I believe it is our products, constant innovation, and the consistency in our offerings that ensure the continued success of Cafe Delhi Heights.
You have recently introduced a new vertical - Bakehouse Comfort. How has that been received by your customers?
It has been received really well! We are so happy to see the phenomenal response to Bakehouse Comfort. Our guests have always enjoyed the breadbaskets we serve at the beginning of the meal. So, we knew that customers like our bakery products and we were right – we have been inundated with orders for home deliveries and take-aways of our bakery products, ever since we launched.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in the last year and how did you overcome them?
Last year was very challenging. From packed venues to locked venues, we have seen it all. To keep your team united in this tough time, was particularly challenging. 1000 employees are dependent on us, with our revenue being their only source of income. It was very challenging to keep their spirits alive. At the onset of the pandemic, we analysed what needed to be done to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff, and immediately introduced stringent measures to this effect. The first was to comply fully and without compromise to the strict hygiene measures recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This included sanitisation of hands and all exposed surfaces such as tables, chairs work benches etc., temperature checks and wearing of PPE kits such as face masks and gloves. The biggest initiative was the move to contactless transactions, eliminating the need for physical interaction by utilising technology and app based solutions for presenting products, ordering and payment. Following these procedures, we began our deliveries from limited outlets, which in turn helped our staff to recover their losses. We believe that our consumers are of utmost importance, and did everything to reach out to them. Through personal calls, social media campaigns, and whatsapp messages, we stayed in touch with our consumers.
Tell us the story of your iconic branding - how did it come to be known as Cafe Delhi Heights?
Born from our love of the city and food in general, Café Delhi Heights celebrates the true ‘Sadi Dilli’ spirit. Delhi has been ruled by many dynasties and is a melting pot of cultures, which makes it very cosmopolitan. The name Café Delhi Heights, is a representation of our vision and concept.
Are you offering anything special to your regular customers to celebrate your 10-year anniversary?
We are running campaigns on social media, through which customers can redeem vouchers and win meals. The contests are mostly around creating nostalgic memorabilia for the brand. Further, on each food delivery, customers receive secret codes for 20% discount which can be redeemed on their next orders through direct delivery.
What is next on the cards for your brand?
We are expanding by opening 8-10 more outlets around the country, within two years. The next one is at Ardee Mall Gurugram, and we will be launching new concepts in Ambience Mall, Gurugram and Cyber Park, Gurugram. We also have plans of expansion to Tier 2 cities.
What advice do you have for new entrants into the restaurant space?
My best advice is for them to stay focused on their goals. They should know that success doesn’t come easy. Today one has to deal with evolved customers, and one can only win them over with good products - nothing else!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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