Gaylord India Restaurant keeps standards high as it expands

Gaylord India Restaurant keeps standards high as it expands

SAUSALITO CALIF. Gaylord, which first opened in New Delhi in 1946, to San Francisco in 1976. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Over the years Gaylord India Restaurant has grown to seven units in Chicago, Las Vegas and the California cities of San Francisco, Sausalito, Menlo Park, Beverly Hills and Sacramento. Given the growth of the South Asian population in the United States and Americans’ increasing interest in ethnic cuisines, Kripalani believes the time is right to move into new terrain. His sights are set on regions where the Asian population is on the rise, such as the South Bay area of Texas, the East Coast and Canada. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“We first look into communities with a large, affluent Indian population,” he said. “People know Gaylord since it has been existing for more than 60 years and maintained success. Still, very few restaurants serve traditional Northern Indian cuisine in an upscale fashion.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

The Gaylord restaurants feature such Northern Indian cuisine as tandoori dishes made with lamb, chicken and vegetables on skewers cooked at high temperatures in a clay oven. Signature dishes include chicken tikka masala, small pieces of tandoori-baked chicken marinated in spices and yogurt; vegetable samosa, an Indian version of Cornish pastry; tandoori fish tikkas; and tandoori rack of lamb. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Food prepared with fresh ingredients and daily ground spices under the watchful eye of master chefs is the only way to maintain authenticity and consistency, Kripalani said. He calls executive chef Santokh Singh his “gatekeeper.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“The most important thing for us is to stay true to the traditional menu,” Kripalani said. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Observers agree that Indian food is gaining in popularity. A survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association in 2000 found that members of generations X and Y have higher demand for more exotic cuisines like Indian, Thai and Vietnamese. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“The demand for hot, spicy foods seems to be insatiable,” said Joseph E. Brady, managing director of the Foodservice Research Institute in Oak Park, Ill. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“Indians who go to these restaurants are seeking a nostalgic experience, and Americans are looking for more diverse Asian foods,” said Bharath Josiam, an associate professor at the University of North Texas in Denton, who recently completed a study of Indian restaurants. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“It’s a question of a tipping point—when the exotic becomes mainstream,” said Adam Erace, a food critic in Philadelphia. “Think about sushi: weird 20 years ago, now so mainstream. Curries and pad thai—same deal.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Gaylord India Restaurants’ expansion follows what Kripalani refers to as a “boutique concept” strategy. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“We select new locations, open the restaurants ourselves, and license them out after they are up and running,” he said. “Each restaurant is an independently operated, self-contained restaurant, offering tried and tested traditional menu items, with new items added occasionally from the vast area of traditional food dishes from the Indian subcontinent.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Initial investments vary for each restaurant, depending on size, existing equipment and other considerations. Kripalani puts startup costs between $600,000 and $2 million. Most of the seven Gaylord units are licensed operations, with licensing fees equal to 3 percent of gross sales. Kripalani, however, balks at labeling the restaurants a chain. The boutique concept emphasizes both the consistent quality and the idiosyncrasy of different units, he said. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

CHAIN FACTS

NAME: Gaylord India RestaurantsHEADQUARTERS: Sausalito, Calif.MARKET SEGMENT: fine diningMENU: Northern Indian cuisineTOTAL NO. OF UNITS: 7SYSTEMWIDE SALES: $10 million to $15 millionLEADERSHIP: Kishore Kripalani, founder and president, and Salim Mohmed, senior managerYEAR FOUNDED: 1976 —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“Even though I sell the license, I still often visit the restaurants, look out for the overall standard—food, service, ambience—and give advice,” he said. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Locations need to be attractive destinations, Kripalani said. His first restaurant was atop Ghirardelli Square, a San Francisco landmark with panoramic views of San Francisco Bay. Because of local real estate development, he moved the flagship restaurant in 2005 to Valhalla, an historic landmark building in Old Town Sausalito. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Nestled on the water’s edge immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sausalito restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows look out on Angel Island, Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“The view here is a blessing,” Kripalani said. “While other Gaylords don’t have such stunning views, we at least assure customers’ convenience—ample parking lots, for example—comfort and visuals inside.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Since its opening, the 10,000-square-foot restaurant in Sausalito has had a daily influx of 100 to 200 customers and annual revenue between $1 million and $2 million, Kripalani said. The restaurant has a 135-seat main dining area, a 100-seat banquet room, and a new 1,000-square-foot bar area that can host 35 to 50 people. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

For many customers, the exotic names of the offerings and the large number of entrées can be intimidating, so attentive service is a must. Gaylord servers always explain the menu and the origins of the dishes, Kripalani said. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

The dinner menu contains 60 to 70 items. Popular dishes include chicken tikka salad, banni cheese and spinach for vegetarians, and artisanal naans. Entrées are served in family portions for sharing. Vegetarian fare ranges from $12 to $15, chicken dishes from $17 to $18, lamb from $18 to $19 and seafood from $21 to $23. The average check falls between $35 and $40 per person, including one beverage. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

All four chefs at the Sausalito restaurant have been working with Kripalani since coming to the United States in the 1980s. Without them, the renaissance of traditional Northern Indian cuisine at Gaylord would be impossible, Kripalani said. To support expansion, all Gaylord restaurants offer intensive training programs for young chefs. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“It’s a competitive marketplace,” Kripalani said. “Our chefs have to be well-rounded in traditional skills.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Unique to the Sausalito restaurant, a months-old wine bar offers a comprehensive selection of California wines and special cocktails for events. The target demographic is young professionals over 30 years old. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“Many Californians have good knowledge about wine, but to have a wine-tasting club in a restaurant is a relatively new concept,” Kripalani said, “and we invite wine connoisseurs to feed our customers with new, exciting wine knowledge.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

In addition to running the Gaylord restaurants, Kripalani serves on the boards of many community service organizations. He’s a founding director of the Asian Chefs Association, an adviser to San Francisco State University’s School of Hospitality Management, and director and former president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“This participation gives me personal satisfaction,” he said, “but is also beneficial to the growth of the business.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

For instance, Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, attended a private banquet at the Sausalito restaurant in May to complete his tour of California. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

Gaylord’s logo has a warriorlike figure holding an axe on a horse. —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

“It’s one form of Ganesh, the Indian god of happiness,” Kripalani explained. “We want to provide our customers exactly what Gaylord means—happiness and prestige. The pursuit of the fine-dining experience should have no boundaries.” —In 1971 Kishore Kripalani, a young Indian immigrant, earned his master’s degree in business administration at San Francisco State University. While honing his marketing skills at a local advertising agency, he saw a market for upscale Indian restaurants in the United States and decided to pursue it. He imported spices, trained master chefs and brought one of India’s oldest white-tablecloth restaurant brands,

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