Queen of the cuisines
By Fusion Lifestyle Reporter
January 27, 2013, 12:14 pm
Queen of the cuisines

On a typical weekend the restaurant caters for more than 5000 guests and serves 300 types of dishes.

We speak to Helen Dhaliwal, the woman behind the revolution that is the Red Hot World Buffet.

When Parmjit and Helen Dhaliwal were looking to launch something new they could not have imagined where their journey would take them.
Both had been involved in the Indian and Oriental food business for some time. During this time they realised that the Chinese buffet restaurants were gaining in popularity.
This was something similar to what they had done already with ‘Shimla Pinks’.
Since opening in 2004 they have seen profits for the Red Hot World Buffet grow by a staggering 9000% and they currently run the most popular restaurant in six of the seven cities they operate.
The restaurant’s theme is simple – They have fresh food from not one or two cuisines but several cuisines. Each prepared by specialist cooks.
“We were confident that there was a gap in the market for the kind of experience we wanted to create with Red Hot World Buffet, but the extent of the success and the speed of it, has been really nice to see.” Says Helen
“The runaway success of the first two years really showed us that we were on the right track, and from there every time we’ve opened we’ve thought bigger, better and been rewarded with a great response from diners.
“Last year saw a 73% increase in the number of covers we serve, to 45,000 a week, so we’re still really growing the business and building on that success.”
Their aim was to make their restaurant unique in every sense of the word.
“Before we started, an “all you can eat buffet” conjured up images of small restaurants filled with limited, overcooked, lukewarm cuisine, often fit only for those who were prepared to sacrifice quality for quantity.
“Red Hot World Buffet revolutionised the buffet dining concept by using five-star chefs to cook high quality, fresh cuisine from four continents.
“We’ve defied convention by recruiting artisan chefs to serve 300 different dishes from Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican and Japanese cuisines at a single fixed price.
“We emphasised this by having live cooking stations, where our chefs will prepare a custom-made dish for diners in front of their eyes, something our fans really responded to.”
Food though, is what makes or breaks any restaurant and Helen was keen to emphasise the importance she gives to the quality of the dishes on offer.
“We recruit chefs who have trained and worked in some of the best restaurants and hotels around the world and who are experts in the preparation of their chosen cuisine.
“This allows us to offer really high-quality dishes which is one of the key reasons we have been so successful, it’s something that captured the imagination of customers right from the beginning.
Forty chefs with seven live cooking stations make the Manchester restaurant the company’s most popular restaurant. A new VIP floor was opened in the summer only adding to the restaurant’s appeal.
“We projected before launching last year that the Manchester branch would become our most successful restaurant, but the extent of the demand we’ve witnessed, especially considering the economic climate and the performance of the industry in general, has surprised us a bit.
“The people have really taken to the Red Hot dining experience, which has helped us exceed our targets. The second floor that we’ve recently opened is a big step for us, it’s the first time we’ve done something like this, but we’re confident that the demand for it is there.
“Each new branch is a big investment so we only choose to go ahead if we can safely predict a minimum annual turnover of £5 million generated per site.”
“We’re constantly evaluating possible new locations and have a long-standing target of running the highest grossing venues in 25 British cities by 2014, a goal we should achieve. Construction is currently focussed on our original town of Nottingham, where we are building a completely new venue, and at sites in Leicester and our first venture in Scotland, Glasgow.”
Despite the success they have yet to open a restaurant in London.
“At the moment the focus has been very much on improving and innovating the concept and now we feel that we have accomplished this and established ourselves as a brand, we can confidently enter into a highly competitive London market.
“We are actively looking at sites in the London area.
“As soon as a site becomes available which suits our criteria - in terms of location and size - we will be opening in London.”
Helen says the menu is very flexible in that it adapts to trends and tastes.
Last year they introduced several campaigns that concentrated on specific cuisines that proved to be popular with our customers. They served Caribbean food early on in the year and then later a ‘Best of British’ menu was on offer.
“The quality of the food we serve is really important to us, it’s what helps us stand out from the other buffets and we appreciate that it is a great draw for our fans.”
The planned Nottingham opening and other new builds planned for this year should bring their annual turnover to around over 30 million.
“Going forward we can’t yet discuss specific sites in detail or what further developments we have planned, but I can assure you we’ve got a very exciting time ahead.
“We are going to expand to the South and South East of the UK and we have an eventual target of 75-80 sites nationwide. If we achieve that in the next ten years, I’ll be very happy.”

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