Unlimited food and alcohol offers might sound tempting as definite crowd pullers, especially on special occasions, but not every restaurant or bar can pull it off, as was the case at a few places on December 31, 2013. Dhara Vora chatted with the people behind some of Mumbai’s famous eateries and bars, to get a pulse on whether the ‘unlimited’ tag works or not
For celebrations like New Year, unlimited offers are what the customer commands, and feels comfortable with. Patrons are in a celebratory mood and like to have a great time. By pre-paying a certain amount, these customers are ensured that they can avail even international spirits at affordable prices, without any worry. It works for us as well, as we are assured of business before hand. We mention all rules and regulations on the pass and while booking, so that the customer is well informed about all aspects of the event and has a special serial number confirming their entry / booking. This also helps us build a regular client base as we spend a lot of time in training our servers on how to handle guests and their expectations. We also ensure special security measures and bouncers, so that there is no severe cause of concern.
-- Mihir Desai, Co-owner, The Big Bang Bar and Cafe, Bandra and Oshiwara
As a venue, whenever we are promoting any offer or any special occasion, we always check internally whether or not we are capable of handling the responses and if or not we are well-equipped. We have a team of security guards and bouncers to keep a check on the crowd. It is all about being fair and at the same time, analysing your customers’ behaviour, smartly. Offers like unlimited food and beverage definitely work, and when delivered properly, the customers appreciate our efforts. The logistics depend on the offer. For instance, when it comes to unlimited F&B, you need to keep your stock ready, and kitchen well-equipped considering the orders are uncertain even though the number of patrons are known.
-- Tom Course, CEO, Canvas Laugh Factory & Canvas, Lower Parel
I am not in favour of offering unlimited alcohol. How can you expect people to not drink and drive if every place is offering unlimited alcohol? Also, when you announce an offer, it’s for everyone, so you cannot decide who will turn up and who won’t. Unlimited food, though, hasn’t been a problem.
-- Meldan D’Cunha, Director, Soul Fry Bar and Kitchen, Bandra (W) & The Local, Fort
Yes, it is sensible to have such offers as it is economical for guests, and they don’t have to maintain two separate budgets for food and drinks. It’s a complete, hassle-free package which pre-communicates everything that guests can avail of without them worrying about a big, fat bill at the end. We have experienced bouncers to handle the crowd and any untoward situation that may arise on New Year’s Eve. Besides, this year, we sold mostly couple passes and restricted stag entry to those in bigger groups in order to maintain quality of service as well as the audience.”
-- Nandita Lad, General Manager, Gordon House and spokesperson, Polly Esther’s, Colaba
On New Year’s Eve, everyone is looking out for unlimited drinks and excessive time limit to party, but we offer only 2-3 drinks complimentary, and the rest on a chargeable basis. This avoids excessive drinking among patrons. Besides, we also arrange for checking alcohol levels through a breath analyser system, and offer pick up and drop services and rooms at low rates to ensure that people don’t drink and drive. Anything in excess is dangerous, whether its food or alcohol , so offering unlimited alcohol on New Year’s Eve is completely non-acceptable.
- Nischint Pathania, General Manager, Ramada-Powai
Such offers involve high cost but also have a good margin of profit. We have had unlimited food and alcohol offers but restricted our entry to couples only. This helps regulate the crowd and bouncers and good security also play a part.”
-- Ritik Bhasin, Cheval, Kala Ghoda
“I have had both a good and a bad experience. The place we went to this time was on reference and we had a private table too. Knowing the organisers is always a good idea to choose your place. And, from the management’s perspective, they need to know how quick to serve and what to serve.”
-- Nishit Dalal, 28, Business Development Manager
It’s New Year, and everybody wants to get drunk. But if reaching the bar and getting the drink is a problem, I would skip a place. The place we visited this year had lesser crowd and had a more intimate set up. Hence, there wasn’t any problem getting our food and drink. It depends on the management, and how they handle it as the crowds can always be large at places giving unlimited offers.”
-- Jerusha Chande, 27, Lifestyle Writer