Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lessons from two dhabas

Well, to call them dhabas would be a travesty to begin with, but between Kamath Lokaruchi (Bangalore-Mysore road) and Chokhi Dani (Jaipur) there is a long lesson. There are others like Dhola ri Dhani which I have not visited, where one could come up with similar lessons.

Describe yourself. If Lokaruchi is a rural house, Chokhi Dani is a village. No confusion. They are not five star places where there is a spa and a bowling alley and organic food. They attract tourists - they are touristy, by and large. In Chokhi Dani especially, they welcome you with a red tikka and a cheery Ram Ram Sa. CD showcases Rajasthan, truly and completely. CD gives you a small map of the place as you enter - so that you dont lose your way, and also see the entire place.

Whats your identity? They are Indian - completely and truly. In CD, we lost our way and wanted to find our way out and we asked a staffer. His first question, "Did you have dinner?", even before he showed us the way. Studied and trained that may be, but at that moment, it was natural. You want spoons? Salads? Juice? You dont get them at Chokhi Dani. Health conscious? Take 3 spoons of ghee and then we can talk. This is our way here.

Know your clientele. Lokaruchi is as much about the food as much the ambience, but the former attracts a lot of regulars too for whom the ambience is, well, done. The latter has a larger touristy populace, so the charm of it remains even if you visit it again - even if that is once in a few years.

Stay true to your roots. Food quality is superb in both these places, even as they have scaled up. But it may scale up only up to a point - which is where they need to stop.

Sure, there can be other me-toos nearby. But there arent? The ingredients are simple, arent they? Brilliant marketing and great service delivery. So why not? Simple, difficult to replicate.

1 comment:

Jairam said...

Dhola Ri Dhani in Hyderabad (near Medchal) is also quite similar to Choki Dhani. I guess they borrowed the concept from there, and would nt be surprised if it turned out to be same guys who are running both the restaurants/dhabas.

I was reasonably impressed with the ambience and the way they treat the people there. However, they do tend to get a little too friendly at times, which we probably find a little too overbearing, especially after having experienced normal restaurants where nobody even cares whether we eat there or not.