Starstruck Bars & Restaurants

From cricketers to actors and singers, there’s a galaxy of famous stars behind a host of fine-dining restaurants and bars in India and abroad

Whether you’re looking for a seven-course meal in a foo-foo fine dine restaurant or a quick bite with some skinny stalks and leaves, there’s a celebrity-owned restaurant for all tastes and pockets. In the past few years, several Indian actors, singers, and producers have invested in the restaurant industry in a big way. Be it Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc restaurants owned by Bollywood stars have been mushrooming. There are many reasons why B-town celebs are investing in the food industry. The restaurant business in India has seen significant growth in recent years. India’s affluent middle class and changing consumer preferences have created a booming market for restaurants be it cafes, fine dining, casual dining, coffee outlets, fast food, pubs, etc. The restaurant industry is thriving and according to the Food Service and Restaurant Business Report 2022–23, India’s food service market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 11.19%. The industry has embraced technology, and people now look forward to new gastronomic experiences. Indians are now exposed to global trends and travel more; they increasingly enjoy diverse cuisines. This has led to the rise of a range of restaurants offering regional cuisines besides Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and healthy options.

Recipe For Success

The impact of Bollywood on Indian society is significant. Indians adore their Bollywood stars. Also, in a social-media-obsessed generation, it has become fashionable to associate oneself with celebrities or eat at restaurants owned by them. Nikhil Merchant, a gourmand blogger and a restaurant consultant from Mumbai says, “Restaurants with a celebrity factor attract more people. We love celebrity culture and feel a sense of awe and connection to anything larger than life. People feel closer to their celebrity idols by visiting these restaurants. They believe that being patrons brings them closer to being part of the celebrity circle. In cities like Mumbai, where Bollywood is based, and Delhi, where it is an aspiration, the approach is more nuanced.

People feel like they are part of the celebrity world. These places are often seen as spots to be at the right time, boosting one’s ego and feeling part of the glam scene.”

Food Biz Fad

Earlier restaurants were standalone mom-and-pop shops. They catered to the locality and the locals would come there to entertain their guests. Chef Niilesh Limaye, a TV show host, author, restaurateur, and entrepreneur states that with the advent of food delivery apps and a hectic lifestyle, cooking at home has reduced. He says that the millennials and Gen Z are traveling a lot more. They are dining out or ordering food at home often. Business dynamics have changed dramatically in the last few years as many people want to be part of the growing food business. Limaye says, “Many Builders, politicians, and Bollywood actors have invested and so more fine

dining restaurants have come up. For a restaurant to do well chefs and the entire team make a lot more difference than a celebrity quotient. The restaurant squad of cooks, stewards, managers, and chefs are by default the Brand Ambassadors of their business. Finally, they can make or break any restaurant.”

Diverse Investments

Bollywood celebrities are venturing into the culinary world, but celebrities largely do not invest a majority stake in such ventures. Neha Deepak Shah, chef and content creator says, “There is an increase in concept-based restaurants. People love the cafe culture or plant-based restaurants. Also, actors like to invest in various businesses. Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli have diversified their financial portfolio into food investment. The restaurant industry is considered glamorous. It is also a network-driven business. With celebrity names involved, it attracts a lot of customers. For actors, it is passive income because most of them have a managing partner. It is a difficult business to be in, customers are unforgiving when it comes to F&B. Some celebrity-owned restaurants are doing exceptionally well because they have nailed the food, ambience, and service”

Challenges Galore

The idea that restaurants make money right from the start is a myth. Running a restaurant requires not just money, but also hard work. Nikhil says that celebrities might attract customers due to their fame, but they still need to prove their concepts. He adds, “If other people are the main stakeholders, then the real work is done by those on the ground, with celebrities often just playing a supervisory role. The restaurant business might seem glamorous from the outside, but once you get into the details, you realise it is no easy task.”

Culinary Trail

Many B-town stars have invested in the food and hospitality sector and own restaurants and clubs.

• Asha Bhosle has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. She has restaurants in Muscat, Dubai, and the UK. Tom Cruise and Ed Sheeran dine at Asha’s in Birmingham, UK.

• Dharmendra’s Garam Dharam Dhaba at Noida and Connaught Place (Delhi) serves north Indian cuisine. The walls are adorned with his movie posters.

• Bobby Deol’s restaurant Someplace Else in Andheri West offers Indian and Chinese food.

• Shilpa Shetty promoted SSK Yog Pvt has 50% stake in Bastian restaurant in Mumbai and Bangalore.

• Gauri Khan, wife of Shah Rukh Khan has a stake in Torii restaurant at Pali Hill, Mumbai. Offers pan-Asian cuisine.

• Rakul Preet Singh has opened Arambam in Hyderabad with Cure Foods. It offers a healthy millet-based menu.

• Badshah in collaboration has opened three restaurants Sago Spice, Symphony, Seville, and Sidera in Chandigarh. He also has Dragonfly Experience in Mumbai and Delhi.

• Karan Johar has a restaurant named Neuma in Colaba, Mumbai. It serves European dishes.

• Suniel Shetty owns a chain of restaurants across the country besides The Liquid Lounge H20 in Mumbai.

• Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli own One8 Commune restaurant that has outlets in Delhi Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

• Mouni Roy’s Badmaash restaurant has outlets across Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata.

• Ayesha Takia and her husband, Farhan Azmi own Café Basilico, Koyla and Madras Diaries in Mumbai.

• Juhu Chawla’s husband Jay Mehta has invested in Rue du Liban at Kala Ghoda. He also has a stake in Gustoso, famous for its Neapolitan-style pizzas.

• Sunny Leone has Chica Loca in Noida, a fusion of global cuisine and a cocktail bar with restaurateur Sahil Baweja.

Many builders, politicians, and Bollywood actors have invested and so more fine dining restaurants have come up.” — Niilesh Limaye, chef, TV show host, author

The restaurant industry is considered glamorous. It is also a network-driven business. With celebrity names, it attracts a lot of customers.” — Neha Deepak Shah, chef, content creator

Restaurants with a celebrity factor attract more people. We love celebrity culture and feel a sense of awe and connection to anything larger than life.” — Nikhil Merchant, Gourmand blogger, restaurant consultant

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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