Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
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the likes of chicken tikka masala samosa (deep-fried pastry with spiced chicken fillings) alongside the frozen pizza, and naan (an oven-baked flatbread) beside the challah bread. "It's emerging, with younger people wanting to learn more about different cui- sines and trying out new flavors," said Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation at Chicago-based Technomic, a food industry research consultant firm. "Safe," not-too-spicy dishes are probably the best way to bring new diners in, Chap- man says, and, indeed, one of American Tandoor's signature items will be tandoori chicken, which will fit the bill. Washington is a good starting place, says Rohit Aggarwal, director of Lite Bite Foods and a friend of Singh's. "D.C. of- fers great opportunities for restaurants, as the audience there is quite accepting, provided that your product is right," Aggarwal said. "We got a great location at Tysons Corner Center, which is considered to be the home to various established restaurants. It is going to be an apt location for us to operate our very first restaurant in the United States." The menu at American Tandoor will be aimed primarily at the non-Indian diner. "There will be lots of stuff from the tan- door, but not a whole lot of overwhelming, heavy-gravy items on the menu," Singh said. Lite Bite Foods is also planning to open its first U.S. branch of North Indian eatery Punjab Grill this year. North Indian cuisine, influenced by Central Asian and Persian cuisine, is distinct in its use of spices, dairy foods and oven- baked breads and is more popular in the U.S. than other forms of Indian cuisine. Punjab Grill, which operates 12 res- taurants in India and one in Singapore, is close to signing onto a spot in downtown Washington, according to Singh. Punjab Grill is also set to open this fall in the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, and the company has plans for a launch of the concept in Sri Lanka by the end of this year. American Tandoor will be wholly owned by the joint venture and is to expand initially throughout the D.C.- Maryland-Virginia area. Punjab Grill, on the other hand, is to grow through franchisees and will be expanding more geographically throughout the U.S. Lite Bite Foods began as a Subway franchisee in 2001. Today the company operates 80 restaurants, up from 18 only five years ago, in India and overseas, across 12 brands offering a range of North and South Indian, Mediterranean and pan-Asian special- ties. Same-store sales projections for the fiscal year ended March 31 predict 10 percent growth. The company's overall growth for that same period is expected to be about 30 percent, according to Aggarwal. In India the company has expanded in malls, on high streets, at airports and in multiplexes, office buildings and hotels. "We have a very strong presence in the Mumbai and Delhi airports," Aggarwal said. At the Mumbai airport alone, the company operates 18 outlets across different banners, accounting for roughly 70 percent of the total food and beverage sales. And the company has plans to add on 16 additional shops by July. Aggarwal attributes this success to "offering the very best of consistent good food and warm services." The Tysons Center restaurant will offer patio seating, a full- service bar and an open kitchen so that patrons may see the tandoor ovens in operation. The company hired Washington- based architecture firm HapstakDemetriou, which has designed American Tap Room and other restaurant spaces. Singh says that the company hopes to have three American Tandoor restaurants open by 2017, plus five Punjab Grills and two other quick-service concepts of three to four shops each in the U.S. "We are looking at a lot of urban high-traffic areas," he said, "including malls or High Street locations." SCT For information about American Tandoor or Lite Bite Foods, contact Karan Singh, managing partner, at (949) 294-2390, or firstname.lastname@example.org. 34 S C T / A p r i l 2 0 1 5 r e T a i l i n g T o d a y For the latest breaking news about shopping center development and the retail industry from Shopping Centers Today , follow @sctnews on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook .