Eat out-of-box at theme-based restaurants! (Eating Out With IANS)

February 8th, 2011 - 11:08 am ICT by IANS  

By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) You can sit on a sofa of ice sipping chilled beer at a shivering minus 5 degrees Celsius, right in the heart of Delhi! Or you can enjoy an Xbox 360 session while ordering your favourite Lebanese cuisine at a restaurant.Eating out with the family is becoming more than just a food, music and dim lights proposition as restaurants and lounges come up with out-of-the-box themes to woo customers.

“The hospitality industry has evolved in the past 15-20 years and the people who are a part of it have realised they have to offer much more than just food to maintain the footfall. Thus they are coming up with new and innovative ideas to sustain the business,” said Puneet Sharma, vice president, BluO at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon.

BluO is believed to be India’s largest 24-lane cosmic bowling centre, where people enjoy drinks, food with rocking music in dim blue lights.

It also offers its patrons some exceptional concepts like Xbox 360 (video game) lounge, private karaoke lounge, exclusive platinum lounges, a pulsating music den and tattoo studio among others.
And with it is a mouthwatering spread of cuisines like Lebanese, Thai and Chinese.

Ice Lounge in Saket, The Sports Bar in Noida, Manchester United Restaurant Bar in Gurgaon, Keya-Kainoosh at DLF Promenade in Vasant Kunj and Golfworx at Ambience Mall in Gurgaon are some of the lounges and restaurants which offer patrons an experience to remember. People can enjoy freshly brewed beer at the Rockman’s Beer Island lounge at Ambience mall.

“People want to try their hand at new things, they demand better service and value for money. In a fast paced world, one has to come up with newer and brighter ideas to stay ahead in the race,” said Rahul Singh, MD, Golfworx.

“Golfworx has not only experimented with the sports theme but tried to get almost everything under one roof - food, music, bar, cigar lounge, art gallery, retail outlet, indoor golfing and golf academy,” he added.

“People are willing to spend money on the best they can get,” said Sachin Aggarwal, assistant manager, The Sports Bar.

Enjoying a glass of chilled beer or whisky at a shivering temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius is one such experience that has found many takers. For those who wish to have a memorable time, there could be no better place than the Ice Lounge in Saket.

Everything there is made of ice, whether it’s a sofa, a glass to sip your fiery drink or the walls. The temperature here remains minus five degrees Celsius. The lounge serves a selection of world cuisine, including Lebanese, Continental and Oriental.

The IIFA Buzz Lounge and Culture Gully in Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon also make fine dining an experience to remember. While Culture Gully provides authentic food from different states of India, the IIFA Buzz Lounge has a complete Bollywood theme where people can sit, relax and enjoy their drinks. It even has a lookalike of the IIFA trophy placed there.

While competition among owners of theme-based restaurants is fierce, some experts warn that customers’ interest in theme-based restaurants may not last long.

Ravinder Kumar, GM (corporate), The Lalit Group, said such concepts have a short life as people get bored very easily.

“These theme-based restaurants have a short life. Innovative ambience would indeed help them attract customers in the beginning but at the end people would take the family back to normal restaurants,” he said.

According to Puneet Tayal, co-owner Ice Lounge, people don’t mind experimenting even though they are yet to accept some changing trends wholeheartedly.

“People by large are yet to accept the changes or the changed trend. People are still happy going to their favourite restaurant or bar. But yes they will not mind experimenting in future as they have supported theme bars,” said Tayal.

Sharma of BluO said constant brainstorming is required to compete in the business.

“The competition is fierce so we have to be on our toes all the time and ensure that we offer customers something new, so that they come back to us. A lot of brainstorming is done to introduce freshness so that our cash registers keep ringing,” he said.

Rahul Singh of Golfworx said: “The theme concept has its pros and cons, but it’s all about how well you play your pros and underplay your cons.”

(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at priyanka.s@ians.in)

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