The Food Extravaganza: A Look at Top Trends from IRC Mumbai
The Food Extravaganza: A Look at Top Trends from IRC Mumbai

The Indian Restaurant Congress- Mumbai took an in-depth look at the restaurant innovation and growth trends happening in 2019 and beyond. 

How Delivery is Disrupting the Restaurant Biz

Delivery has become a huge business today both for restaurants and the third-party aggregators and the food-tech players. It has become a big opportunity for players like Domino’s that set the tone of delivery business in India way back in 90s. It does 70 per cent of delivery through Zomato and Swiggy etc and the rest is done by Domino’s itself. Hence, we can say that Zomato and Swiggy have disrupted the urban and the semi-urban areas. “Delivery has become a great market and we at Speciality Restaurants have hired somebody from Domino’s to learn the art of delivery business,” shares Anjan Chatterjee, Founder & MD, Speciality Restaurants Ltd.

Quality v/s Quantity: Better Quality Food over more Food is the way to go

Handcrafted foods, off beat experience, multi-cuisine food moment are some of the emerging trends for diners wherein quality is more focused upon over quantity. With customers’ demand for high quality, locally sourced and organically grown ingredients, food in any restaurant is going through a change wherein restaurant owners and chefs are becoming smart by growing their own ingredients, partnering with local farmers and also making customers’ aware about their food and from where it is sourced.

There is no denying that diners expect more than just great food when they dine out – they crave great experiences. “You need to provide a hearty meal where your guests say, ‘Hey! I enjoyed the food’,” shares Rahul Dhavale, Executive Chef, Westin Mumbai Garden City, by adding that everything remain sensation as it depends on guests what they want to have.

Keeping Brand Fresh & Relevant

Millennials' eat differently than their parents'. As a growing restaurateur it is a constant trial to keep up with numerous food fads and crazes, as well as determining, which trends are more lasting and how to adapt them to a specific market and food segment. Keeping in mind about the new age diners and customers, brand evolution is a continuous process.

Commenting on the same, Vishal Kamat, CEO, Kamat Group shares, “We have a fantastic global as well as Indian fare. But what we serve in the south of India is different to what we serve other markets. The whole idea is to give our customers a differentiated experience when they come to a part of south of India for breakfast. Those items are traditional recipes that you don’t get in a 5-star restaurant. And, that’s where the evolvement happens.”

Innovation is the Key

Innovation is not just limited to food, menu or service but it is also about creating customer experience. Restaurants these days do lots of fun activities to keep customers coming back to them again and again. “When we started Sassy Spoon at Nariman Point we started it as a fine dining restaurant but four years later when we thought of starting it in Pune and saw the demographic over there, we found that the target audience was very different from the kind of target audience we had for fine dine in Mumbai. So, we had to tweak our offerings and price points as per the Pune market,” shared Rachel Goenka of the Chocolate Spoon Company that owns Sassy Spoon.

The Right ‘Money’ Finding the Right ‘Concepts’

As the Indian consumer story is growing, investors are seeing a huge interests in the sector in the last one and two years. There are myriad ways operators are funding expansion and development. “The primary bet we do at Gaja when investing in a brand is that we bet on the team. We want to be very clear about the team, the concept and the ability to scale,” adds Manoj Balan, Director of Finance, Gaja Capital. The restaurant business is all about scale and growth and at any point of time when an investor decide to exit and it becomes exciting for another investor there has to be growth and a path that has to be made. So, for any investor, the initial filters are what the team demonstrated, how capable is the team is, etc.

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