Mumbai is My New Favourite: Priyank Sukhija
Having opened Tamasha and Lord of Drinks in India's commercial capital, the intrepid restauranteur is planning five more outlets in the next six months as well as a night club in JW Marriott Sahar, Mumbai and a brand called JLWA.
PRIYANK SUKHIJA Delhi’s most successful restaurateur have recently opened his second outlet of his first restaurant Lazeez Affair in Connaught Place, New Delhi. Starting at the age of 19, Sukhija had little inkling that he would alter Delhi’s hospitality industry forever, opening more than 35 different outlets over a span of just 17 years.
BW Hotelier spoke to Priyank Sukhija, CEO and MD of First Fiddle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd to know about his journey and experience in the restaurant business so far.
Beginning his journey with Lazeez Affaire, Malcha Marg back in 1999, he has gone on to create bigger brands like Lord of the Drinks, Tamasha, The Flying Saucer Cafe, Warehouse Cafe, and Teddy Boy.
“It was very clear to me that I couldn’t study and wanted to become an entrepreneur. My first failure at a bowling alley made me more aggressive to open up Lazeez Affair at the Malcha Marg, New Delhi which paid me off well,” Sukhija remembers.
According to him, the overall turnover for the last financial year (2015-16) is around Rs 200 crores. “This financial year we would have clocked Rs 250 crores, but my growth has been hampered by the roof top ban. Luckily, I have not been touched by the liquor ban,” he says.
Sukhija is quick to add that he thought governments should take stricter measures to ban drinking and driving and work on changing the level of consciousness of the public when it comes to the matter.
Sukhija thinks that restauranteurs should get recognised by the government for their work. He said, “After the Indian Army and Railways, we are the third largest employer as an industry.”
When it comes to his own company, Sukhija ensures that the rights to the brands he has created remain completely his, even though he works in partnership and franchise models. This helps in keeping all the outlets in sync with his vision, while also making sure that the brand identity remains unique. “Since the numbers are huge now, I’m planning to put all brands under one roof,” he told us.
Sukhija believes it’s the vibe of his restaurants which sets them apart. “I put in lot of effort in the décor, as well as entertainment factor at my restaurant and cafes. I love to compete with my own concepts and experiments. Apart from all this, food plays an important part too,” he said.
After hitting all the hot spots at Delhi, Mumbai is becoming Sukhija’s new favourite city in India. “I’ve recently opened Tamasha and Lord Of Drinks in Mumbai, and am presently planning on five more outlets which will be opening up in the next six months. I’m also working on a night club at JW Marriott Sahar, Mumbai and on a brand called JLWA,” he revealed.
After hurdles like the liquor ban, GST, demonetisation and roof top ban, next year looks interesting for Sukhija. He intends to open at least 12 to 15 new restaurants. “Expansion to other cities in India and global expansion to cities like Dubai, New York, San Francisco is what I am looking at. Our target revenue for the year 2019 is Rs 500 crores and we will work aggressively towards achieving that,” he said.
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