Making a difference by targetting the niche segment
Though he successfully runs La Sara brand of business hotels, Dr R Ravichandar, Founder and Managing Director, Nandhana Group, says his main focus is on the expansion of restaurant business
It was in the late 80s, while he was barely in his 20s, that a young farmer’s boy left the sleepy hamlet of Sholinghur near Chittoor in pursuit of a city-based career. His obvious choice was Bangalore, the closest city from his village. He had his share of challenges with various companies before he joined as an accounts manager at a popular restaurant. Satisfied with his job but itching to do more, the young boy nurtured the dream of reviving the restaurant. In the early 90s, it so happened that the restaurant attached to the then famous Pallavi Theatre started running into losses. “Fortuitously, the restaurant owner offered a partnership since I had the experience of working in one and thus was born the Nandhana Group. Nandhana in Sanskrit means ‘daughter’ and I dedicate the name to my two daughters, Shweta and Ramya,” shares Dr R Ravichandar, Founder and Managing Director, Nandhana Group.
In 2006, La Sara brand of business hotels was launched. “The goal has been to make it one of the finest business hotels catering to the wide budget sector. We have largely good number of corporate clients. The pandemic posed a great challenge wherein we had to manage a lot. It was a stressful period. It took a while but we bounced back,” he says.
On what made him decide to venture into the hotel business when the restaurant chain was doing extremely well, he says, “We were looking to diversify and expand our operations. We already have banquet halls so we wanted to position ourselves strongly in the catering and hospitality sector. Hence, it was an immediate thought and the execution followed.”
But why only business hotels? To this query, Dr Ravichandar says, “Our ideology is based on ‘value of money’. We were certain about expanding and wanted to make a difference by targetting the niche segment. Since we have been in the hospitality sector, we know the value and wanted to position and strengthen it even more. As for the facilities, we offer compact, cosy and comfortable rooms. There is no compromise on the comfort level. We offer lavish breakfast spreads depending on the package the guests opt for. Our locations, Koramangla/ Indranagar are quite sought after and we do get a lot of travelling crowd,” says the MD of Nandhana Group, adding there are plans to move to Chennai soon. “However, our focus lies in the expansion of restaurant business, considering investment in the business is comparatively lesser,” he says. The Group, at present, has 16 restaurant outlets in Bangalore – Indiranagar, Koramangala, Kammanahalli, New BEL Road, Domlur, Marathahalli, KR Puram, Bannerghatta Road, RR Nagar, JP Nagar, Nagarbhavi, Sahakarnagar and Kanakapura Road.
Dr Ravichandar feels the trend of domestic travellers choosing to explore India, its history and its culture, much like it happened during the pandemic period, will continue. “Domestic tourism is definitely witnessing a boom. We see a trend in people opting for local travels, so accordingly, we offer different packages catering to their needs. For example, we have staycations wherein the guests can check-in and enjoy the lavish spread of meals included as well as work from the comfort of the rooms,” he explains.
Elaborating on the roles his daughters play in the business, Dr Ravichandar says, “Each play a very important role in the building blocks of the business. They are responsible and extremely dedicated towards their respective works. For example, Ramya handles the operations very smoothly and takes care of the online presence in the market whereas Shweta takes care of the marketing side, ensuring we have the correct approach to keep our guests happy,” he says.
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