We Introduce New Menus with Changing Seasons to Underscore the Korean and Japanese Culture: Peter Chanseok Jung, Founder, Peterdonuts & Cabaret by Peter

In conversation with BW Hotelier, Jung speaks about the journey of his Korean Restaurant & Café venture in the Indian HoReCa segment and the venture’s further expansion plans here.

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PETER CHANSEOK Jung, a Korean national who lived in South Korea for more than 38 years has been associated with the fashion industry for over a decade since the early years of his professional life. He soon learned about the thriving food industry, especially in India, where he witnessed the rising demand of F&B delicacies and experiences predominantly from that of the South East Asian countries.

With different tricks of growing business which he learned from the Korean market, Jung decided to come to India to set up his café and restaurant venture here. With eight years passed, Jung has successfully opened seven outlets of his café format Peterdonuts and recently introduced the Cabaret by Peter – an all-in-one Café and Restaurant space in Baner, Pune in Maharashtra, which serves South East Asian cuisines and beverages. In conversation with BW Hotelier, Jung speaks about the journey of his Korean Restaurant & Café venture in the Indian HoReCa segment and the venture’s further expansion plans here.

Being from the Fashion Industry, how did you ideate to enter the hospitality services industry? What potential did you see in the Restaurants and Café segment in India to start your business?

Peter Chanseok Jung: I was in the fashion industry for almost 10 years and learned the techniques of selling products and when thought about opening my own business, I noticed, hospitality business is easier to start. After visiting India, it was obvious to me that the country has lots of opportunity in terms of growing business, especially in the restaurant and cafe segment. Growing up in Korea, I saw a different type of market in the cafe business which was lacking in the Indian market. Hence, the idea of starting my own business in the cafe segment came to my mind so that I could introduce the Korean cafe culture to India.

What aspects did you presume before setting up your cafe venture in India? What strategy has boosted the speedy expansion of Peterdonuts over the years?

PCJ: Before setting up the cafe venture, I learned that the hospitality industry works well when the services provided to clients and the quality of food, both are well maintained. So, when I came to India to start my cafe business, I made sure that we keep our menu simple yet interesting in such a way that cooking delectable food all the time doesn’t become a problem for our chefs. With seven outlets in the time span of eight years, it has been an amazing journey and I believe that our food quality, a variety of dishes and cosy interiors, are the unique selling point that we have created for the Indian customers.

What is the format and USP that Cabaret by Peter boasts of?

PCJ: After establishing my cafe business in Pune, I initiated to bring a unique place in the city, where anyone from any age group can enjoy at any point of time, so I came up with the idea of starting a cafe, bar and restaurant all under one roof and named it Cabaret. There’s an interesting story behind naming the restaurant as the name itself says the kind of service we provide. As it is a Cafe, Bar and a Restaurant we took ‘Ca’ from cafe, ‘Ba’ from bar and ‘Ret’ from restaurant.

Cabaret is a spacious place with great ambience and is separated into three sections. The entrance of the restaurant leads to a cafe with a view of greenery which is ideal for breakfast and tittle-tattling over a cup of coffee. The next section includes a high-ceiling restaurant along with a well-equipped bar, furnished with high chairs and comfortable couches which integrally make this place ideal for brunch, lunch or dinner.

To cater to the diverse patron portfolio, how are you at Cabaret taking care of making it experiential in terms of ambience, gastronomy from world over, signature F&B, etc.?

PCJ: Since my childhood, I have witnessed many trends back in Korea and after coming to India, I wanted to incorporate those trends. I started serving casual Korean and Japanese food at Cabaret because authentic Korean and Japanese food usually takes a lot of time to make and has a distinctive taste which might not work out for Indian taste buds. So we modified all the recipes a little bit according to Indians while keeping the ingredients as authentic as possible. Other than Korean and Japanese cuisine, we serve a variety of cuisines ranging from English breakfast, Indian, East Asian and Continental for our diverse clientele. In terms of ambience, I kept it simple with dim lights and soothing vibes.

There are a variety of dishes and cocktails from Korea, Japan, and the other East Asian region. Veg California roll, Chicken Katsu, Korean Chicken Bulgogi, Yang Nyum, Dak Gang Jeong and Indonesian Nasing Gorneg are very popular among our visitors. Few of the Cabaret’s signature cocktails are Mai Tai, Hot Tody, Beach Fizz, Cabaret Sin, Cabaret Rock and Korean Beer Asai.

How has Baner market in Pune served for Cabaret in terms of revenue generation?

PCJ: After coming to India, I realised that this place has the potential market but there wasn’t much competition. In 2003, when I visited Pune for the first time, there was only one Barista and I had to travel 40 minutes to get my hands on a hot cup of coffee. That was the time I decided to start my own business here and offer something different to Indians.

I understood that Baner has a special market and the high street being a very famous place, it wasn’t difficult for me to choose the location for Cabaret. People from different corners of the city come to high street and Baner which are good for a restaurant to serve to the diverse visitor market, and not limiting the service to only locals. Until recently, the ratio of the international and local clientele of patrons is 20:80. We have received different types of patrons in terms of age ranging from between 20-40 years. To attract more customers, we have started different activities such as DJ night, Speed Dating, Dart competition, and Karaoke night.

How will your venture create a space for local employment as well as for the overseas talents who desire to showcase their skills globally?

PCJ: I already have created a space for local and overseas talents. Our head chef, Chef Karan Pawar used to work in Australia for quite a long time and now works for Cabaret. Other than him, we have many local chefs and employees who are helping us to grow with their skills.

What new value additions are you looking forward to adding to both Cabaret and Peterdonuts?

PCJ: In Cabaret and Cafe Peterdonuts, we always try to bring new menus and I got this idea from being in the fashion industry. In Korea, fashion changes with each and every season.

Likewise, I incorporate new menus according to the season and bring out the Korean and Japanese culture. Being from the fashion industry, it always helped me creating the ambience, theme and props. I follow new trends of abroad and add those details to bring out the best.

What are your expansion plans to further penetrate into the potential markets in India?

PCJ: Right now, I am planning to expand my business to cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. We are planning to mark our presence in the tier-II and tier-III cities but the only hurdle is in the franchise model. For these cities, I am making a smaller business model so that they need not invest a huge amount to start with.


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