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As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


A business like no other, unique CEO challenges: NRAI Seminar


A NRAI session led by India’s top restaurateur CEOs on expansion and sustainability in this industry.

Among the panelists were industry leasers who represented the key segments of the restaurant sector. These speakers are notable for not just being a part of the dynamic Indian restaurant sector but have also having contributed immensely to its evolving landscape.

Designed exclusively for the owners and entrepreneurs who are looking for information and guidance on expanding and scaling up their restaurant businesses, the special event saw a remarkable attendance with participants coming from Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.

The interactive and crisp power session focussed on essentials of expanding the business while keeping it sustainable. The knowledge session helped participants get thorough insights on:

  • When is a restaurant brand ready to expand – Understanding of profitable unit economics, significance of manuals and systems, capital availability and having the right team to drive the expansion.
  • Expanding through company invested restaurants versus building your chain through Franchising. Key areas to address in terms of capital, people, brand standards and pace of expansion.
  • Sustainability in the Restaurant Business in terms of menu innovation, profitability and growth.
  • Funds for expansion. When and how to go for funding, debt and equity (company investment/VC & PE).


Everyone agreed that running a restaurant business in India is a challenging task as India is a unique market with complex licensing issues and current slowdown in demand. However, the view was that the sector has tremendous opportunities for everyone to grow as India is still very low in various parameters including frequency of eating out, out-of-home consumption and other aspects compared to other South East Asian countries.

Ajay Kaul said that for every business to be successful, the entrepreneur should “think big” and have the “conviction in the concept”. He should be able to infuse his belief among his employees to drive success in the business. He believed that business decisions are a function of both heart and mind going hand in hand.

Niren Chaudhary shared a disciplined and methodical view that every restaurateur should observe before planning to expand. While looking at scaling up, he spoke of a 4 tier system of consumer response to the concept, profitable business model that has the ability to generate returns within specific time lines, proper asset strategy including the study of what format will be successful in different locations and finally building shareholder value. He also mentioned the keys to sustainability including creating synergies between top line sales, investment made and operational efficiencies.

To remain sustainable in times of economic downturn, AD Singh was of the view that capex on restaurants should be controlled and more compact spaces taken up; there should be constant innovations in food, menu, and formats.


Everyone was of the opinion that employees are the brand custodians and that they should be given top priority in running a business. Ajay Kaul mentioned that employees shared the most workable micro innovative methods that can help the organisations save significant costs. Rahul Singh stated that to grow from one unit to several units, it is vital to remain connected with your employees and have an open door policy.

For franchising, the panel agreed that there will always be differences between the franchisor and the franchisee therefore to make the franchising model flourish, it is necessary to find likeminded partners who can share the same value and vision as yours. Riyaaz Amlani educated the audience of the challenges of finding a franchisee partner for standalone businesses versus chain. He emphasised that food purchase decisions are mood driven and on many occasions people eat out only to savour an experience re-creating the same experience in a franchise business is a tough task.

The last segment of the panel discussion concentrated on funds for expansion. Jay Singh said that to get funds for expansion is good but to assume that the investors will bring strategic changes and will add value to the business is a wrong premise to begin with. One should be very clear of the objectives while raising money, the stage your business is at since it is not only onerous but also demands discipline and self governance.

Apart from sharing valuable information on these subjects, speakers were very candid in sharing their experiences, challenges that they faced while growing their brands and the solutions they sought to create successful models of their brands.

Samir Kuckreja, President of the association said, ‘Being the leading association of the restaurant industry, it is the responsibility of the association to create platforms where best practices could be shared. At these knowledge conferences stakeholders get opportunities to learn continuously from several industry experts. NRAI seminars are well liked in the industry as the contents of these sessions are designed around the most relevant subjects that are found useful by the industry players and help them keep their businesses relevant and up-to-date. Apart from being a valuable resource, these sessions are great occasions for business networking’.


  • Samir Kuckreja, President NRAI.
  • A.D Singh, Olive Bar & Kitchen
  • Ajay Kaul, Jubilant FoodWorks (Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts)
  • Jay Singh, JSM Corporation (Hard Rock Cafe, Shiro’s and California Pizza Kitchen)
  • Niren Chaudhary, Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell)
  • Rahul Singh, The Beer Cafe
  • Riyaaz Amlani, Impressario (Smoke House Deli and Mocha)

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