Kylin All Set for Expansion

With a brand new urban cool format, Kylin and Saurabh Khanijo are looking at a very busy 2018 with plans to expand the Asian dining and QSR empire from 17 to 50 by March 2019.


The latest Kylin outlet and (right) Saurabh Khanijo, MD, Kylin

IT'S NEARLY 13 years since the first Kylin opened its doors in Vasant Vihar Market in January, 2005. "If you ask me personally, I started working on the project six months before we opened," according to Saurabh Khanijo, Managing Director, Kylin. 

Khanijo spoke with BW Hotelier sitting at Kylin Experience, the 'Version 2.0 : Younger, Funkier, Quirkier' at New Delhi's Greater Kailash 1's N Block Market. Khanijo knows a thing of two about the restaurant trade and how it's developed in the recent decade, because he has been able to utilise the boom to grow his business.

"The whole landscape has changed. I have been a part of the boom when I entered the industry, when I took a step back from the mass-centric product and did something which wasn't available in India. For me, the restaurant isn't just about the food, it is about the complete experience. We changed the whole dining out experience and created a lounge where Asian food was being served in a pre-plated format," he told us.

He adds that when he began opening in malls, he had to adjust and become flexible and add family portion servings on the menu.

"Whatever concept I have ever thought of putting up, I have been true to it. My offering has been in line with the concept, whether I excel or don't excel in it, has been my biggest USP. I don't want people to come my food," Khanijo added.

The company has two concepts, one a QSR called Wanchai and the other is the restaurant Kylin Experience. Khanijo has eight Wanchai's and nine Kylin restaurants. With restaurants all over the NCR, Chandigarh, Lucknow and one opening in Ludhiana, Khanijo expressed his desire to enter the Mumbai market as well, but that may have to wait till 2018. 

The Version 2.0 has been built up keeping in mind the urban developed market with a menu which has elements like gluten free, free range with stress on where the food is sourced from for example. 

The sky is the limit as far as how many restaurants Khanijo wants to ultimately build, but there is a plan to expand to 50 outlets (60:40 ratio QSR:Kylin) by 2019 March.

"Currently because the market is a bit disturbed, we are holding back our expansion plans, once things stabilise, we will start again," he adds.

Khanijo confessed that he had not approached anyone for financing the expansion and the company has been self-financed till date, though he wasn't closed to the idea. The current value of the group is around Rs 50 crore, according to company sources.

"Every restaurant does well and we get good numbers. We employ between 35 to 40 for dining format and 10 to 15 for QSR outlets," he added. The group employs over 650 people across North India.

"I am being driven by passion right now and want to scale it up to maximum heights. As I said, I have a scale up plan, automatically the value will keep growing once you keep adding units and the same units start to perform," he said in conclusion.

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