The Bagel Shop in Bandra: Co-owner Mr Pereira shares how the cafe is still going strong at 17!

The Bagel Shop in Bandra: Co-owner Mr Pereira shares how the cafe is still going strong at 17!

Brand insights, behind-the-scenes & more.

17 years ago, a Dutch visionary planted the seeds of The Bagel Shop in Bandra, drawing upon his expertise to introduce the concept of bagels in Mumbai. Moving forward, the Bandra cafe was joined by Mr Lester Pereira in 2016, who has been handling the operations of The Bagel Shop since then!

In a recent interview with Knocksense, Mr Pereira shed light on the origins of The Bagel Shop and his transition into its leadership, eight years ago. He elaborated on the cafe's enduring commitment to excellence over the past 17 years, highlighting its consistent dedication to delivering top-notch quality and service. Mr. Pereira also reflected on the brand's steadfast market presence in Bandra, shared the secret behind repeat customers and told us why he isn't fond of running offers!

"...we hope to continue for another 10-15 years in this industry."

Q. What's the story behind The Bagel Shop?

Mr. Lester recounts, "The Bagel shop began its journey 17 years back when a Dutch gentleman arrived in India and decided to venture into the restaurant business. With his extensive background in restaurant operations, he initiated The Bagel Shop. Being of Israeli descent, he introduced the concept of Bagels to the establishment. I joined the team 8 years ago, and since then, it has been a remarkable journey." He adds, "The Bagel Shop has a great name in the market, fostering a strong sense of community. While facing challenges from new competitors popping up, many of which close within 1-2 years, we stood still for 17 years. It has been an a great experience, and we hope to continue for another 10-15 years in this industry."

Q. What are your thoughts on the Bandra market? Also, what's the secret behind The Bagel Shop attracting customers?

Mr. Lester expresses, "I'm a Bandra boy, born and brought up here. Bandra has always been my game. The Bagel Shop, to me, feels like a second home because of I live close by. I spend a considerable amount of time here, engaging with customers, understanding their preferences, and ensuring they leave satisfied. It's a community feeling, people come to relax, work, and connect. Interestingly, several startups have sprung from this very place. We aim to welcome people back, and create an experience for them. Of course, we do need the business also so we need people to come here."

He adds, "I do a lot of interaction our customers, and ask them about their likes and dislikes. We make it a point never to deny a guest what they want. Even if it's not listed on the menu, we strive to accommodate their requests and provide something tailored to their tastes, which they'd appreciate."

Q. Tell us something about the vibe of the restaurant.

Mr. Lester tells us, "People come here and say this place reminds them of Goa. It's a Portuguese residence place, people used to stay in it and it was sold off around 20 years ago. Since then, we've taken it forward into what The Bagel Shop is today."

Q. What prevails: orders or walk-ins?

Mr. Lester explains, "Our online orders contribute to about 25% of our business, but the majority, around 75%, comes from dine-in customers." He asserts, " When you have food at home, it's not the same because by the time it comes out from the kitchen and is taken by the delivery person to your place, its not the same item while when you dine in, form the moment its plated to the table, it's not even 30 seconds, its a different experience." Mr. Lester adds, "While I understand the convenience of dining at home, it doesn't quite compare to the experience of dining in. So, I always encourage people to dine in whenever possible."

Q. First-time visitors or loyal customers?

Mr. Lester proudly states, "We have a significant number of regular customers here, constituting about 40-50% of our guest base, which is indeed remarkable. Repeat guests is what business is all about."

Q. Do you have any upcoming menu additions?

"We update our menu every six months, we look at the items that don't move, we knock them out of the menu." states Mr. Lester. "Additionally, we regularly introduce specials, which we display on our board. We engage in suggestive selling, recommending items that align with our customers' preferences, focusing more on quality rather than high-priced items."

Q. Do you currently have any offers or forthcoming deals?

"At the Bagel Shop, we don't do any offers at the restaurant. However, we do offer discounts online." He adds, "Offering discounts in-store can sometimes give customers the wrong impression about the restaurant not doing well. Personally, I'm not in favour of the 'buy one get one free' concept."

Mr. Lester further shared, "We also incorporate imported ingredients in many of our products, and with the continual rise in prices, we can't keep changing the prices every month. As a result, we have to bear these losses as well. So running an offer doesn't suit us."

Q. Any USP of The Bagel Shop?

Mr. Lester explains, "We don't target students; its a family restaurant. Being a family-oriented restaurant, we welcome pets as well, thanks to our spacious outdoor area. The Bagel Shop holds the distinction of being one of the earliest pet-friendly establishments, a tradition we've maintained for 17 years. Additionally, we offer a dedicated pet menu, available both in-store and online." Also, Mr. Lester adds "We support and showcase the work of young, aspiring artists by providing them with a platform to display their creations for a month. If you know any such individuals, feel free to send them our way, and we'll be more than happy to assist them."

An enduring café for years to come!

Today, as The Bagel Shop stands amidst the bustling landscape of the hospitality industry in Bandra, it remains a steadfast symbol of community and resilience. The Bagel Shop's enduring dedication to quality and connection continues to take it forward, ensuring that it remains a beloved café for years to come!

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