27/08/2008 - 22:00

Meat off the Oswals’ menu

27/08/2008 - 22:00

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Better known for its Burrup Fertilisers plant and a twice-postponed $2.5 billion float, the Oswal group run by India-born billionaire Pankaj Oswal is branching out in the sustainable hospitality industry with a new project developed by Mr Oswal's wife, Ra

Meat off the Oswals’ menu

Better known for its Burrup Fertilisers plant and a twice-postponed $2.5 billion float, the Oswal group run by India-born billionaire Pankaj Oswal is branching out in the sustainable hospitality industry with a new project developed by Mr Oswal's wife, Radhika.

Mrs Oswal's proposed multi-million dollar vegetarian restaurant chain is a further boost to the environmentally friendly credentials of the group, which has been linked to a $1 billion solar power plant project in the Pilbara

The new venture, Otarian, is the Oswal Group's only consumer brand and will be marketed as a sustainable, vegetarian casual fast-food chain.

Up to four restaurants will be launched simultaneously each in New York and London by mid 2009.

Mrs Oswal expects the chain to grow in Europe and the US first and will launch venues in Singapore before targeting the Australian market in a couple of years.

"I don't think Australia is as ready for a vegetarian restaurant [chain] as perhaps London and New York are; it's easier to start in those places, become a brand there and bring it here [Australia] in a couple of years at the most," she said.

Although the restaurants will be located overseas, Mrs Oswal is in the process of recruiting a general manager of operations, a corporate executive chef, and a marketing manager for a Perth-based five-member management team.

Mrs Oswal said the concept of 'sustainability' had been misunderstood and misconstrued in recent years.

"We have to get the meaning of sustainability correct because there's a lot of green garbage out there," Mrs Oswal told WA Business News.

"Our chain is based on sustainability, and sustainability has three aspects to it - environmental, economical and social.

"Being vegetarian is being truly sustainable because you're being environmental, first of all, because you might be aware that...10 per cent of greenhouse gases are coming from the production of meat. It's social because you don't get mad cow disease."

Mrs Oswal wants to move away from the hippy tag often given to vegetarian eateries by developing a trendy concept that will reach wider demographics.

"The restaurants will look smarter than any fast food restaurant and still be affordable. You will have global cuisine such as Mexican kebabs, Italian lasagne, and Indian cuisine. It will target today's younger crowds, the busy mums, the dads, the teenagers and it will be a chic place to be seen in," she said.

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