Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Lutyen's Delhi official residence of the President of India spread across 330 acres, has now got a restaurant. American quick service restaurant Subway has set up a mid-size outlet at the clock tower area inside the sprawling complex.
While Subway is known to open its outlets in several non-traditional locations such as universities, schools, hospitals and airports, Rashtrapati Bhawan is among the few unique destinations in the world to house the restaurant. In a similar league are Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum at Springfield (Illinois), the Grand Palace in Bangkok and at New York's World Trade Centre site.
A company executive said a recently opened museum at Rashtrapati Bhawan was the trigger for getting a restaurant in the complex as visitors come from far-flung places.
While it took some two months to set up the outlet, the US-based sandwich major had to tweak its plans considerably, given the heritage nature of the building. Spread across around 300 sqft, the outlet offers all its regular items that it usually serves in the country. However, it does not offer fountain soft drinks - a trademark of Subway outlets across the world.
The heritage tag of the Rashtrapati Bhawan that houses the outlet did not let the company dig holes and do any plumbing job. Since, uninterrupted supply of water is essential for beverage-vending machines like the ones which dispense soft drinks, Subway chose to stick to canned colas. In fact, the outlet looks significantly different from the rest as it does not bear explicit branding across its walls.
Currently, Subway has 580 restaurants in India and is present in 111 countries with 44,799 outlets. Of that, 9,800 or one-fourth of its total restaurants are located in non-traditional locations such as college campuses and highways.
"It is extremely gratifying that the Rashtrapati Bhavan authorities have given Subway this unique and prestigious opportunity," says Ranjit Talwar, country head, Subway Systems India. On Day 1, the outlet served over 200 guests.
Niranjan Kumar Sudhanshu, Director, Rashtrapati Bhavan said, "The restaurant would serve fresh and wholesome food to the hundreds of visitors that the Rashtrapati Bhawan museum attracts every day."