Friends isn’t just a famous TV series that everyone loves and watches. It is an indispensable part of our lives, it’s what made our childhood, and it definitely played a role in shaping our being in more than one way. We grew up with Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Joey and Phoebe. We watched them drive each other crazy, make each snort and cry and hold each other’s hands through heartbreak. We saw them willing to sacrifice their lives for each other, and most importantly we saw them cultivate a friendship so pure and beautiful that we all tried to imitate and acquire it.
Image credits: dopeshop.in
So imagine our delight when we heard that our favourite show was coming to town! Well not literally, but in the form of Central Perk. That’s right folks, The City of Joy decided to go a step further and set up a Friends style Café right in the south of the city at Deshapriya Park.
The brains behind this delightful idea are a brother-sister duo from the city itself, Mahima Bachhawat and Aditya Bachhawat. Pooling in their efforts and resources with their cousins, the Bachhawat siblings decided to feed off on their Friends obsession and give the crowds the chance to hop, skip and jump down memory lane to the countless memories we made with our favourite Friends.
Coming to the economics of it, the Bachhawat siblings have made quite a smart move in terms of sales and investments. Although Kolkata, known to some as a ‘foodie haven’, is home to some of the best quality food-restaurants in the country, the crowds are flocking to this new Café that was inaugurated earlier this May.
Why? Because the sharp business minds running this Café understand how consumer-mentality works. Although vegetarian, the Café is capitalising on the fandom of its customers to make their sales. If you look at its menu, you will instantly recognise a dozen familiar names because they have been taken from iconic moments in the show.
Remember the cheesecake from Mama’s Little Bakery that Chandler and Rachel fought over? Or Ross’ Moist-Maker Sandwich? Remember the stories behind them? Of course you do, that’s what the suppliers are banking on. Even its very décor – where they’ve brought in ‘Pat’ the Dog, Phoebe’s pink bicycle, impersonated our favourite Purple Door with the golden frame and adorned the walls with unique one-of-a-kind framed posters of our favourite six, is an attempt to make you relive the episodes, glance at each reminder and start off with a “Oh that! Do you remember, this was in that episode where…”
With a 3.2 on Zomato and pricing at Rs 900 for two, the Friends Café may slightly be a bit over your daily budget, but it’s the theme of the place that will lure you to it because it brings back a billion memories of the show, and like we all know, memories are priceless. So for the consumer, the experience makes it worth your value and time – the two most important characteristic returns of any business model.
A reviewer on Zomato expressly states that he would not rate the café on just its food and service but rather the experience. “The place was conceived as much out of nostalgia as it was out of commercial reasons. For years we have craved for a place like this, and it is finally here. I'm sure most of us have had a gala time here. The management is quite friendly. Ambience is fairly good. Episodes from the TV Series are always playing on the screens. What else does one need?” he says.
It is the demand for this experience that the suppliers are promoting and which is driving the crowds to this quaint little café in the basement of a house in Deshapriya Park, where the fanboys and fangirls spend many an hour reminiscing and reliving. The Friends Café takes you back a decade to when six baffled souls met on one orange couch in Central Perk and gave us a story to live by.