Greasing restaurants with funds – By S.V.Krishna (Guest Author))

Remember those greasy and sweaty (yet tasty) quick service restaurants or Darshinis that sprouted in Bangalore during the late eighties. I never really enjoyed jumping in to the queue to purchase my food coupon in those sticky food dens.

Still it served its purpose- I could have a quick snack after school. It was a time when entrepreneurs- from Mangalore- were able to open one restaurant and in a couple of years scale the model up within the city.  By the end of the nineties the Darshinis and Sagars were all to common here. These entrepreneurs were content and I wonder if they ever knew what VC funding was.

I was out the other day in a food court and I saw a couple of old restaurants like the Taj and New Krishna Bhavan experimenting with the fast food or quick service model- were even an element of branding comes in to play. I was curious about this development and I met one of the owners of such a restaurant to find out how these dirty old dens became conscious about brand and image.

Then I almost choked, as I swallowed the roti that he served me. Don’t worry the food was great- it startled me because he said he was VC funded. Come on! What was the world thinking?

Suddenly grease seems to taste like cream to angel investors and VCs. I hear these entrepreneurs talk about business models when previously they would only be talking about the flour and the dough in store.

To make matters worse- I found 5 such investments in restaurants and interest is growing. Strangely I have lost my appetite again- I begin to wonder will money be burnt or will it find itself in a bottle of red wine.

Only time will tell what business models will work- I know that VCs have taken a stand on casual dining, QSRs and fine dining.

Then I can tell you that it is a bet that they can take because Indians are eating a lot and statistics show a rise in consumption inside the urban Indian’s stomach. For a short period of time all these business models will only grow and VCs can expect a return. But will the sum affect be the creation of a national chain. That is a foresight left to the entrepreneurs and not the VC’s.

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About Deepak
Venture Capital and M&A advisor, Entrepreneur, Startup enthusiast..

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