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Forget restaurant chains, Bengaluru eateries are busy churning out sequels

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BENGALURU: Bengaluru’s F&B industry is in the midst of sequels. Restaurateurs are opening the same or upgraded chapters of their successful brand of eateries across localities. Sequels have readily replaced the idea of restaurateurs introducing new concept restaurants. Industry experts note the year gone by has witnessed only sequels, with just a handful of new brand launches.

It appears the owners find it safe to stick to the winning formula in the city. Asian restaurant Misu of St Marks Road opened its second outlet in Indiranagar recently and plans to open soon in Whitefield or Outer Ring Road.

“Like Mumbai, Bengaluru has grown multifold with each locality becoming self-sufficient. People don’t want to drink-and-drive or battle through heavy traffic. While experimenting with new food concepts is adventurous and important, opening multiple outlets of a tried-and-tested formula is a feasible way to scale business,” says owner Amit Ahuja.

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Sanchez & Sriracha opened its second outlet in Indiranagar after UB City. “The idea is to expose a winning formula to different markets but with added creativity. About 40% of our menu in Indiranagar is new,” says chef Vikas Seth.

Sometimes, availability of larger real estate prompts restaurateurs to open a replica in another food district. Like pizzeria Brikoven of Church Street, which launched in Indiranagar with bigger infrastructure a week ago. Director Anirudh Nopany says, “If the food is good and in demand, we must replicate the model, expand but ensure that the standards match perfectly.”

Microbreweries like Byg Brewski Brewing Company and Biergarten have opened sequels.

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Restobars like Bob’s Bar, Foxtrot and Shizusan will follow suit soon.

Experts say replication, while helping business stay afloat, can damage the food spectrum of the city. “Sticking to a winning formula is profitable and easy,” says food expert Aslam Gafoor. “Replication, however, does make a brand lose its charm, especially when it is chef-driven or has a face.”

Food writer Priya Bala blames both restaurants and diners. “Most customers order familiar nachos, fries and biryani each time. Restaurants and brewpubs, already struggling to exist in this competitive industry with innumerable rules and regulations, open cookie-cutter places in all geographies to play safe.”

Bala says while customers need to start looking at dining as an art form, chefs must muster courage to take the leap of faith and make way for daily blackboard menus to keep the city’s food spectrum vibrant.

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