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When Formal Meets Informal - Business After 8 The business outside business.

By Nusra

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Entrepreneur India

We know how much we mean business unwinding over an evening toast at a bar as much as hitting the keyboard out of our boxed office cubicles in the day. The only difference is -- bars let you be your creative best unlike just being work machines at offices.

Thanks to the otherwise zingy cafes or bars hittingour local streets in start-up hubs like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru that have been the go-to work spaces for entrepreneurs. Go-to because of the comfort these bars and cafes offer which can't be more apt for relaxed and open conversations. And all that buzz happens not just in the day but in late evenings, that is after 8 pm. Entrepreneurs admit of such an environment breeding better ideas, conversations and no doubt great partnerships and deals. One of the believer of this notion is Ambarish Gupta, Founder and CEO of Gurgaon-based cloud telephony company
Knowlarity Communications, who say, "Psychologically speaking, people in office don't really move and keep working from their cubicles or desks, which sometimes restricts their creativity. When that scenario is changed to something like a café, people come up with more creative solutions to problems because the atmosphere is completely different, and the discussions are not very serious."

True, the personal connect that happens during the conversations are a great add-on. "It's easier to connect on a more personal level over beer than over coffee. People are more relaxed, and it's a good
stressbuster as well," says Abhishek Maitreyi, Co-founder, CaRPM, an app that connects a user to his/her car. Gupta, every Thursday, hangs out for business meetings at Beer Café or Starbucks in late evening where the music is relatively quieter and not very irksome compared to other cafes and restaurants. "There is some disturbance because of music and people, but the whole idea is to unwind and relax.
It is pretty common worldwide," adds Gupta.

When formal meets informal

As people are hooking socially for business meets, restaurateurs are coming up with new facilities for good business. "We at Tamasha have interesting prices for corporates. My place Lutyens Cocktail House is more for corporates, it is clean chic place that has formal yet modern seating with best of cocktails that will also help corporate people to hold conversation," shares Priyank Sukhija, Owner, Lazeez Affaire Group.

Likewise, Molecule at Gurgaon, which is owned by three partners Manish Sharma, Varun Puri and Vivek Bhargava, was created out of the need that Gurgaon corporate required a nice bar-cum-cafe to hold their business meets.

"We feel and believe that the most intelligent decisions are made over drinks. Thus, we turn our normal cafés into business cafés by incorporating special deals, packages, separate Private Dining Rooms (PDRs)," says the owners of Molecule.

Scaling on start-ups

These cafes are targeting 20-year-old young professionals to 70-year-old CEOs and directors. But, created at a time when start-up ecosystem is expanding, they are an ideal place for these start-ups as there is no rental involved in it. "Beer cafes provide an informal and relaxing place to network, away from the mundane routine of office. And a change of place is something that gives a temporary trigger to mind and helps in rolling out new ideas," says Samar Singla, CEO and Founder, Jugnoo.

The Beer Cafe working on the same model targets young start-ups, businessmen and professionals who find operating from its nearest outlet easier than renting out their own space.

Meanwhile, located at the heart of Delhi, Informal gets best footfall when it comes to catering to the corporates. "There are a lot of strong companies in the area and many of their employees are our customers," shared Sharad Madan, Owner, Informal.

Say Cheers!

Umang Tewari, who owns some of the wackiest restaurants including 3 Pegs Down, Junkyard and Vault Cafe, has major revenue generation from post-8 pm meetings. Of the monthly sales, around 70 per cent of business comes post-8 pm.

"The idea was to encourage meetings strengthening personal bonding. We were very successful in this approach and Vault Cafe till date has been an evening meeting place for corporates,"says Tewari.

"The best part of this kind of business is that one builds a permanent clientele that results in more business as they refer the place to a lot more people," says Aryan Singh, Promoter, Jugaad Cafe & Bar.

Normally, there is a very thin line of difference between normal cafés and business cafés. Business over beers is definitely more profitable then business of coffees. "Our 50 per cent revenue of total sales is dependent on business we do post 8 pm at our cafes," elaborates Molecule's owners.

Hence, we can say that gone are the days when there had to be too much of polite environment to crack business deals. But yes, we have to be sure about the quality service being offered for such meetings.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (March 2016 Issue).


Deputy Features Editor, Restaurant India

A writer, foodie, bookworm and an avid traveller, Nusra has more than three years of experience in writing and editing for English dailies and magazines. Her interests find ways to culinary delights in multiple ways. The journalist spearheads Restaurant India on the editorial forefront.
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