Like every year, Indian Restaurant Congress in its 4th edition witnessed great footfall from the restaurant fraternity. Top restaurateur, policy makers, food service professionals and consultants, food ingredient and raw material suppliers came together at the event and awards held on 28th and 29th of August at Taj Vivanta, Surajkund, Faridabad.
The restaurant and F&B (Food & Beverage) professionals came together on the single platform to interact, share their knowledge and experiences on various topics related to customer engagements, food taste, quality, best practices, regulatory issues and future trends in the food service industry. Keeping in mind the theme of Indian Restaurant Congress 2014 ‘Think Global...Eat Local’, experts shared their insights on how to create business concept and food palates that are modern in their traditionalism.
The Business Concept
With globalisation hitting the Indian restaurant sector, emerging trends have made their way in creating new business scenarios in India. Not only home-grown brands are a hit in the country, many major international brands are also foraying into the regional market tapping a good business response in India. Brands like Chilli’s Bar & Grill, Polo Towers Group, Starbucks, Fatburger have opened their outlets in India and are planning to expand their identity in the country by adopting the technique of localisation as per the demand and palate of the local customers by focusing the international management skills.
Commenting on how to create a smooth business in the fast growing Indian F&B industry, Gaurav Ahuja, COO, Red Ginger Hospitality said, “People today demand fresh and authentic food and are attracted towards value for money prices. If the taste of the prepared food doesn’t suit their palate, nothing can work for a restaurant.”
Speaking on how the current F&B trend is going global, Chef Hemant Oberoi, Cor. Chef Luxury Division, Taj Mahal Palace says, “The food trend in India is changing. We will see new concepts coming in India in another 8-10 months. I myself working on a new concept and I spend around two months in a particular country to go through the details of the food in its local avatar. Today Indians are well travelled and they need change and want to experiment with different types of cuisines.”
Creating a Modern Palate
With the changing times, Indians are now keen on experimenting with food. They are demanding good food along with the value for money prices. Customers are well travelled in their country, beyond their country and are open to experimenting with new foods; new trends, new recipes and their palate have become a modern palate.
Experts today believe that the restaurateurs should learn from the Dominos, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and others who have incorporated in bringing the best out of the local palate by doing the best, replicating it, making it scalable, institutionalising it, and improve it so that you have the logistics, the locations and the backend.
Emphasising the growth factor in the Restaurant industry, Sharad Sachdeva, COO, Lite Bite Foods Pvt Ltd shares “One has to have a vision and innovative approach to grow in any industry. Food is one typical industry where you need trend analysis and view into the future with a lot of persistence and a great team to grow from local to chain.”
Stretching a line on how restaurants are signing an investment deal, Siddharth Bafna, Partner & Head (Corporate Finance), Lodha & Co says, “I believe that there will be a lot of opportunities for new restaurant chains to emerge and for the able ones to raise venture capitals or private equity in times to come.”
Its’ Gala time
The Indian Restaurant Awards 2014, which was held in the evening of 28th August, acknowledged the contribution of market leaders and innovators from the Restaurant fraternity. Organised by Franchise India and judged by leading business experts including the Editor-in-Chief of the group, these awards were the perfect opportunity to show the awardees’ outstanding success in the industry as they received national recognition and extensive media coverage with the partners.
In the last three years, Indian Restaurant Congress and Awards have become the authority and the final word when it comes to food and beverage in the country. A night full of applauds and recognition of customers was sponsored by Cremica, Catch Spices and others in the trend. The prestigious brands that were a part of the evening included Devyani International, Mrs. Bector’s Food Specialties Ltd., Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd., Jumboking Foods Pvt. Ltd., Massive Restaurants, Lazeez Affaire Groups, Oriental Cuisines Pvt Ltd amongst other.