‘F&B businesses need to prioritise customer hygiene concerns and develop more agile operating processes’ :Amit Ganpuley, Food and Beverage Manager, Sahara Star

Amit Ganpuley, Food and Beverage Manager of Hotel Sahara Star believes that fresh, light and healthy foods are the new elements of the F&B industry for the next decade. Asmita Mukherjee met Ganpuley recently to know his future plans for the award-winning F&B offerings of the hotel brand.

Could you please tell us more about your restaurants, how many brands you have and what are their specialties?

Sahara Star boasts of 5 food & beverage brands such as The Earth Plate, Namak, East Asian Spice Trail, Mabruk, and Ocean- Private dining room. 

The Earth plate is the global cuisine restaurant that includes a selection of Italian, Mediterranean, French, Tex-Mex and Far-Eastern delicacies along with Indian regional favourites. It is one of the largest all-day dining restaurants in the city, where one can watch live the culinary maestros at work in the show kitchen while enjoying delicacies from around the world. 

Namak, Sahara Star’s Indian speciality restaurant truly reflects the spirit of progressive India. It creates a truly fulfilling experience for you and your family through unmatched Awadhi and Hyderabadi flavours for lunch and dinner.

East Asian Spice Trail, abbreviated as EAST offers aficionados a rich experience of Pan Asian cuisine in an ambience resembling the culture of Asia. Its live stations and teppanyaki grills recreate the splendour of Asian cuisine. 

MABRUK, an award winning restaurant for the “Best Lebanese Restaurant” by Times Food Guide, offers rich Lebanese culture with soulful Mediterranean sounds and mouth-watering cuisine conjured by Chef Jihad.

The Ocean PDR (Private Dining Room) is a unique space covered by our exceptional marine aquarium on three sides. The PDR is ideal for board meetings, private soirees and special celebrations. Exclusive in every manner, the PDR features customised menus, elegant table settings and special service.

How would you go about designing a new menu for the business?

According to me, the first step in creating a restaurant menu is taking into consideration the concept of the restaurant. 

Once the restaurant knows where to focus its menu, it becomes easy to put different dishes into sections on the menu. While it comes to pricing, a restaurant menu can be tricky. Prices can’t be too high, but it also can’t be so low as to put the restaurant out of business.

Once all the planning is complete, it’s time to create the restaurant’s menu. This is where the process of carefully and deliberately designing a menu for maximum profitability comes ahead.

What do you expect to be the ‘new normal’ in the F&B business?

To survive the ‘new normal,’ food and beverage businesses have no choice but to rethink and redesign the way they run their businesses. As they plan for the future, F&B businesses will need to prioritise customer hygiene concerns and develop more agile operating processes so that they can quickly adapt and budget for possible new constraints. The QR code scanner can be placed on each table for contactless menu and ordering rather than a physical menu card as the dependency on the tech has increased. There is only one certain thing, that there is no going back to the “old normal”. Only those who can recognize the opportunities created by these challenges create and can adapt and move forward, will survive this.

What cost-reducing methods have you found to be useful in the ‘new normal’?

One among some of the cost reductive methods that have really worked for us, is minimising the food wastage. For buffets, we have adapted and learned to layout smaller portions and replenish as we consume so that food wastage is reduced by over 30%. 

Another method which we adopted in the new normal is adapting to superior quality disposable linen, this resulted in 60% savings in linen procurement & washing costs. Also, the disposable linen stands in line with the New Normal Superior Hygiene Standards.

Also, by going the ‘E Way’; which is online menus and payment via online methods, we have drastically reduced our stationary costs of One Time Only Usable Guest Stationary, which has also helped us to increase our green contribution by reducing the use of paper. 

Kindly let us know your targets and strategies for FY 2022-23

Our main target is to surpass the business levels of 2019 (pre-covid levels). To meet targets we have strategies to customise our F&B offerings to suit the new normal demands of corporates in terms of being price-conscious while providing quality with simplicity. 

We have learned to adapt our outlets in such an operational way that we can offer them for smaller events of up to 60 pax; this was considering the fact that larger crowds are still being advised to stay away from congregating. This is the Optimum Space Utilization of our F&B outlets. 

We have started giving importance to online visibility. This increased visibility has now helped us to reach our brands to a larger guest segment; even crossing city and country boundaries. Our 5 in–house restaurants are now ranked among the top 10 in Mumbai city. 

We have also been strategic about our menu and price offerings which are listed online; adopting a method of pricing as against demand. 

Kindly let us know about your upcoming projects.

We plan to introduce two new products. One is Nutri Café and the other one is Art on Plate. 

We will be soon launching our body-mind-wellness project Nutri Cafe. Nutri Café will be complementing our wellness projects of a new gym, salon and spa. The Nutri Café will have food and beverage offerings which are following the current health advisories and market trends. 

Art on Plate will be an exemplary culinary masterpiece of food, curated and designed by our talented chefs. We will be showcasing the high-class quality of a specially designed menu paired with world-class wines and cocktails in a new adorned outlet. 




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