By: Alifiya Khan
Sapne Mein Bhagwan Shiv ke darshan hona; Vashikaran, vashikaran mantra, vashikaran totke, वशीकरण के आसान टोटके, वशीकरण टोटका, vashikaran upay. Gaurav Gite, owner of a Lebanese food chain shares, “The decomposable containers cost three times more, but we can’t suddenly ask customers to pay extra. So for the time being we are bearing.
Big brands usually expand from bigger cities to smaller ones. Pune is setting a reverse trend. The latest is Pune’s locally brewed Doolally craft beer. Pune micro brewery is setting up a taproom in Bandra, Mumbai. The diving force to take it to the other end of the expressway was regular visits from Mumbaikars who guzzled pints of the local beverage. Suketu Talekar, co-owner of Dolally said, “We realised that on an average, we had about 150-200 covers (people) from Mumbai. We had a clientele there. We just had to move the brand closer to them. Also, I must add that many local brands here have considerable clientele from bigger cities where big brands already operate, and that is an acknowledgement of how good we have got.”
Doolally isn’t the only food/alcohol brand from Pune that opened shop in bigger cities, prompted by growing popularity. From Koregaon Park’s famous watering hole Tertullia to the all-vegetarian Dario’s, a favourite with members of the Osho commune or the Lebanese flavours of Marrakesh, many restaurants from Pune have branched out in bigger metros, reversing the trend of food brands and concepts popular in other cities coming to Pune. “Yes, Pune is not hand-me-down anymore. The patrons here are much travelled, know good food and force restaurateurs to innovate and be relevant. In fact, though we (owners) belong to Mumbai, when we wanted to set up a restaurant, we came to Pune. It was only after years of success in Pune that we moved to our home city,” said Devika Gupte, director of Bavdhan’s Trikaya.
Imrun Sethi, owner of Terttulia that opened in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park months ago, said the move to Mumbai was a natural transition as they had a regular clientele. Admitting that competition in Mumbai is quite tough and there is no dearth of world class food brands, he says it’s innovation that makes the cut.
Agreeing with the view, Talekar adds that Pune brands set trends in innovation and gone are the days when Puneites would wait for months for bigger brands to set up shop to experience newer cuisine and food trends. “Pune has introduced some novel concepts in hospitality, especially over the last 3-4 years. And that’s why despite competition, brands like us or a Tertullia or even Malaka Spice have loyal patrons from bigger cities motivating us to move into bigger markets,” added Talekar.
Praful Chandawarkar, owner of Malaka Spice – the South East Asian specialty restaurant in Koregaon Park confirmed that he was looking at properties in Bengaluru and Goa.
Pune restaurateurs say that unlike the bigger brands that came to Pune and had to shut shop, most local brands that branched out tasted almost instant success.
“Pune is a test market for most brands. It is a joke amongst us but it’s also quite true that if you have survived the Pune market, you can do it anywhere,” said Gaurav Gite, director and brand owner of Marrakesh and Habibi, another Pune brand that has reached Mumbai and is now expanding to Goa and Bengaluru.