The Hospitality industry has its work cut out owing to the repercussions caused by the pandemic induced restrictions and lockdowns, not to mention the fact that ‘gathering’ spaces would need to add in layers of work in order to convince their patrons that their premises are safe and top-notch, both product quality wise and hygiene wise. These attributes did exist before as well; however the pandemic has resulted in a reminder of sorts for people, with some being extra conscious than usual because of it. Whether this would become a permanent habit is a function of both cost and convenience to the customer in question and their propensity to revert back to their old lifestyles.
Restaurants in Bengaluru can’t wait to make a comeback; and so do people. People want to come out and go back to their favourite places to have a good time over food and drink. The faster the rate of vaccination progresses, the faster will the hospitality industry make its comeback to pre-pandemic levels, with both the factors being correlated directly to people’s confidence in venturing out again. Human beings are wired to be social and human beings are wired to their surrounding environment. Restaurants that best make people feel at ease stand to carry momentum forward into this new decade.
Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to Dr. Kiran Kumar, the Director of KG Hospitality, the company that runs the popular Gawky Goose Kitchen & Bar on the iconic wind tunnel road in Bengaluru. The ‘come out’ tagline couldn’t come sooner for the restaurant sector, and Gawky Goose is raring to make the best of it. Below are the excerpts from our conversation.
Give a brief info about your startup (Restaurant & Bar)?
I recently ventured out into the f&b space as we opened our restaurant and bar Gawky Goose. And it instantly became a hotspot on the iconic wind tunnel road in Bangalore with haute drinking, global cuisine with a regional twist and glimmering interiors, it is also pet friendly. It is an Irish pub theme inspired kitchen and bar is spread over a sprawling 14,000 sq. ft with plush seating, emerald green and brass embellished bar that is flanked on either side by intricately detailed brass and emerald green columns.
The menu is a great mix of world cuisine with regional twists prepared using modern techniques. The bar brings back the long-gone classic cocktails with regional twist/modern Techniques. The menu also showcases some flavour blaster cocktails.
Gawky Goose strikes that rare balance: a place equally worthy of a visit for its drinks as for its food. It’s best enjoyed when you’re here for both.
With a seating capacity of 390, it is the perfect spot to grab a latte with your fur babies (Yes we are pet friendly), an intimate meal with your partner, outing with colleagues, or even a night out with the gang, ultimately making it a melting pot for professionals and locals alike.
What made you start your Restobar and what problem does it solve?
I have always been fascinated by the hospitality industry, especially restaurants & bars! In my travels to over 58 countries over the years, I have envisaged & visualised owning a Hospitality Company with Varied brands with International quality, emphasis on product, people & process! I have a focused approach of ‘ standing out’ in the Industry & emerge as a leader in a few years!
I have seen most people, but not all-seeing F & B as an overtly superficial business with glamour & appeal – while I see it as ‘ Creating world Class Brands ‘. And I think that’s what we have solved, we are not just a beautiful looking space, but have great food, path-breaking Cocktails & splendid Service. Gawky Goose is an amalgamation of all the quintessential things coming together, making it the perfect go-to spot for any occasion.
Tell us about yourself, your previous ventures? What were you doing before this startup/Gawky Goose?
I, Dr. Kiran Kumar, am a spine and arthroscopy surgeon. I am from Bangalore and I was born and raised here. I work with multiple hospitals and perform surgeries at private hospitals such as Kims, Fortis and Hosmat hospital. My wife Swetha who is also a Doctor (dermatologist); and I have our clinic right opposite Gawky Goose. We also have a family run construction business that I manage. We have a Fitness centre as well on the 1st floor of the same building as Gawky Goose.
I intend & continue my residency & private practise as an Ortho Surgeon. So it’s a constant hustle between bar and medicine for me now, besides handling family business.
Where is your Restobar based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
I wanted to start from my neighbourhood where I grew up ‘ Wind Tunnel Road’ – as old Airport Road, Wind Tunnel Road and adjoining areas have nothing as splendid as this! At the same time we are an uncluttered Outlet, beautiful big spaces, guest areas spread across indoor and outdoor seating which is massive, extremely close to Indiranagar & CBD, close to Marathi, bellandur etc, we have our own parking of 250 cars! All these add up to be the perfect location for us to be in.
As a startup founder/first time restaurant owner, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Well, this isn’t my first business , thus the anxiety & the risks that come with a start up don’t bother me as much. Though , f & b has its own anxieties & with the current pandemic & lockdowns – business comes to a standstill! The challenge is to keep your brand afloat yet, keep your costs to the minimum , yet keep your talented people motivated & on board – the anxiety the entire team goes through as to what’s next , can keep one awake at night.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
There are definitely a few in the city – though in other zones.
Our differentiator is we believe in Quality & consistency – we believe in creating experiences for our customers & our team alike. We take a lot of pride in our product – both Food & cocktails , as well as our ambiance. We embroider Service Quality into our Training’s & our existence at brand ‘Gawky Goose’. We also boast of the one & only Loyalty program ‘ The Goose Club’ – which is by invitation only, with flat discounts, vouchers & a host of other privileges. If you have one – be ready to be pampered. If you don’t – you can earn it over time.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
This is not my first business ,thus I balance my Orthopaedic practise , Gawky Goose , other businesses , my fitness , my family life & my social life pretty well .
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If not, then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
I have not raised any funding for my project – its self- sustained. There’s no plan as such to raise funds in the future yet!
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
As I come across an easy going person & generally a quiet one, people misconstrue this otherwise. The reality is that I’m a very good listener & an extremely keen learner!
What gets you excited about this company?
Just the fact that the People I’m working with are exceptional – I have an extremely proficient & exciting team.
The other being, I have attempted to ‘Raise the Bar ‘ at Gawky Goose & I plan to stay there
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Well, I’m up at 4 am, hit the gym by 430 for 2 hours, have my bf & then go visit my Dad, then I’m off to the hospital, by late afternoon / early evening I come by to Gawky goose, then I see patients at my clinic till about 8 pm. I’m back at Gawky Goose after.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
My architectural firm ‘Balan Nambisan Architects ‘(Owned by Arun Balan) has worked with me for a few years on my other projects. My Civil & Interior execution was done by my Uncle – Mahesh babu and Hareesh.
My Hospitality Turnkey Consultants ‘Thinktanc’ (owned by Anupam Sehgal & Amit Roy) were referred to me by some common friends. Thinktanc then brought in our Our GM (Robin Lazar), Executive Chef (Anthony Tamang), Our PR agency ‘Meraki Creative Inc’ (owned by Sonalika Pawar), Our Brand agency ‘ Now Media’ (Owned by Nithin Koshy & Divya Maben), our AV consultant Poncho (Sreekumar Gopinathan).