Restaurant business has always been an industry depending heavily on consumer preferences. As a restaurateur it becomes crucial to understand what a customer of today and tomorrow expects when he goes to eat out. “In past 18 years, we have seen a huge change in restaurant industry. The first 12 years were the years of smooth selling and suddenly the whole pattern changed because there were millennial and it is a drudgery to impress them. The aspirations were growing up and needs were changing. We realised that whole market has changed and driven by youngsters and of course we also had to reinvent then,” avers Anurag Katriar, CEO at DeGustibus Hospitality.
There are few trends that stand out and also there is a definite shift of unorganized market to organized one which is good news. It might be steady right now but it is surely going to stay. Therefore the organized sector are up for more consumers but competition is ultra huge in this sector. For example, Drinking out is perhaps the foremost reason for people to walk in to a restaurant. Earlier it was quite easy because people used to go out for food and drink was something incidental but now the situation is vice versa. Food was the clear differentiator then but how would someone differentiate in X restaurant’s Chivas Regal and Y restaurant’s Chivas Regal. It’s one and the same thing. Restaurateurs need to be bit more smart while placing the drinking menu and deciding the price to maintain an upper hand in the competitive market.
Cafes’ are the New Trend
In early 2000s there were not many places where people can casually hang out and relax. Everything was about being dressed up and getting noticed which has undoubtedly changed over the period of time. “Over the years, social networking sites developed people in a different way. Bars probably used to generate revenue on weekends earlier but now they are doing fine on week days as well. So, people assuredly want to go out, sit with their friends and want to spend some quality time that has made big change in today’s market,” says Khodu Irani, Founder, High Spirits.
Technology is definitely an imperative part of food service sector as consumer today has become convenient friendly. It has benefited the industry and even changed the entire perspective of understanding a consumer’s behaviour. “Things have changed drastically as compared to before. For example, Reservation was something unpopular in 2012 but now people want to reserve a table before going out. We launched this way back in 2012 and now we are hosting more than 3000 diners on a monthly basis,” says Sahil Jain Co-founder, Dineout. Point is that industry is moving in the direction where people want more convenience.
India is a diverse country and every part has different taste so as the pricing. Gone are the days when restaurants used to decide the menu, it is decided as per customer’s choice now days. “Market is changing because the customers are changing. They are more understanding, extremely demanding and moreover they have social media. Restaurateurs are now realising that they are absolutely a service industry,” adds Tanaya Sheralea, Director of Operations, Bellona Hospitality. Restaurant industry has to consider customer’s preference to maintain supremacy in the market.