‘Running a restaurant is challenging’
Spread across 7,000 square feet in Connaught Place, Ardor 2.1 stands tall and unique for its exceptional nightlife experience filled with the soulful and mesmerizing Ghazal and Sufi music. Renowned artists like Sameer Khan of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana have performed here. Headed by award-winning Executive Chef Sanjeev Takyar, Ardor 2.1’s kitchen is known for the unusual names of its dishes – the gigantic Khali Bali Thali is inspired by Modi Ji’s 56-inch chest remark, being just one of them. The restaurant is managed by a husband-wife duo Suveett and Meghha Kalra, who after tasting success in CP, opened another outlet in Sector 29, Gurugram, Ardor 29. Life & More speaks to Meghha Kalra, whose innovative marketing and social media presence has helped both the ventures tremendously. Excerpts:
How did an MBA from Symbiosis Pune and a certified Jewellery Designer end the F&B industry enter the F&B sector? What was the trigger?
Honestly, for us, it turned out to be a great combination because one was logical and calculative, while the other one was extensively creative. I feel that not just the restaurant business, but we could have together done great in any industry because creativity and accurate calculations are what it takes to stand out in a crowd.
Ardor 2.1 is an unusual name for the restaurant. We smell a story behind it. Tell us all.
Yes, the name is unique definitely. While Ardor means energy in Greek, we added the 2.1 because we have two floors and a small terrace so that makes it 2+1. That was the whole concept behind Ardor 2.1. There’s no specific story behind the name, just that we always aim to do everything with full energy and passion and that is how Ardor 2.1 came into being. We don’t like to leave any stone unturned because that doesn’t give us the mental satisfaction of doing our best. As an entrepreneur, working in the restaurant business, it is very important to add value to your work and that is what we’ve done so far with Ardor.
The interior of the restaurant
What challenges did you face in the process of setting up a restaurant? How did you counter those? Tell us about your journey in detail.
It’s never the setting up of a restaurant that brings challenges, but running the restaurant is what makes the work tough and tiring sometimes. Following all the rules and protocols, training the staff, making sure that the food is hygienic and matches the expectations of our guests, working on the staff retention ratio, making sure the cutlery is clean, the food is served at the right temperature, keeping up with the latest trends, standing out in the competition, etc. The challenges are countless, but we sail through them with a smile on our faces.
The pandemic has hit the F & B industry badly. What sort of innovative steps are you taking to make a comeback?
Talking about the pandemic, it has affected the entire economy, let alone the FnB industry, which has been the worst hit. We have taken several steps to make sure we contribute to getting better by introducing our immunity-boosting Vedic Thali, which had a number of healthy ingredients, thoroughly researched by our team. Now, we are also coming up with new innovations because that is the call of the hour. It is no longer about just serving food and following SOPs, but coming up with cutting-edge ideas, putting your energies into creating something new and unique every day.
What is the USP of your food?
Our USP is that our recipes are well-curated, considering the mild spice levels and maintaining the authenticity of the states we bring those recipes from. The best part is that the recipes we use at Ardor 2.1 are patented and we’ve maintained the same taste for the past decade and we plan to do that in the years to come as well. Our quality never took a dip even during the pandemic.
The food is as enticing as the interiors
Why are these unusual names for the dishes? Do you think these names help sell more?*
Yes, they definitely sell more. We always come up with new dishes that are very relevant, be it to a social event, a political issue, or anything else to hit the right chords with our audience. Catchy names create the attention that this economy really needs. We try to be as creative and unique with our dishes and hit the market at the right time to create a buzz that helps the dish to sell better.