Over the years casual dining has become one of the fastest segments to grow, capturing both quick service and fine dining customers. With 33 per cent of market share, the sector has become investors’ first love in the food service game where they prefer putting in their hard-earned money. And, as people are eating out more day by day this segment of the market is divided into two parts depending on the location and the target group.
Prioritizing on Affordability
“Customers have money and they like to experiment, so when a new concept is launched most people give it a try. If the concept wins the guest by good service, affordable price, innovative ideas there is a repeat visit and the concept is successful,” shares Sharad Sachdeva, CEO, Lite Bite Foods adding that as casual dining is getting more and more acceptable, restaurant owners are dividing it into two categories basis the location and customer.
According to a latest research done by CBRE, Casual dining restaurants (CDR) has been a category that has gained significant traction in the past couple of years; with the category accounting for almost 46 per cent of all restaurants that were a part of the survey. In terms of location, more than 60 per cent of CDR’s in the survey are located on high streets.
As the F&B landscape matures, it has given enough opportunity for the emergence of home grown chains. With the availability of funding and PE investments in the F&B business, operators have expanded their brands across cities. NCR and Mumbai are the cities that witness the most "cross expansion", with chains headquartered in either of the two cities expanding to the other city fairly quickly.
“The customers are less choosy yet very impulsive while dinning out. It is not essentially affordability that is important for customers but also the QSC (quality, service and the cleanliness) at any dining segment which is mandated to magnetise repeat visits,” points Abhinav Yadav, COO of Cybiz BrightStar Restaurants Pvt. Ltd which runs burger chain Carl’s Jr in India.
Driven by New-Gen Customers
Casual dining restaurants are very different as they focus on customer experience, however their USP remains affordable pricing. “Millennials the right customer base for ACDRs as for them pricing is the most important aspect apart from innovative ideas and service, most affordable casual dining concepts addresses all these aspect,” adds Sachdeva who launched Tappa and You Mee to give unpretentious food at very affordable prices with excellent service and ambience that youngsters love these days.
Commenting on the same, Atit Verma, Co-Founder, Tpot Café says, “India has a big appetite for eating out. The economics of running a restaurant isn’t keeping up. The amount of real estate available to restaurateurs is limited, rentals are constantly increasing and yet consumers are going for (cheaper) casual dining, making it harder for us to break even.”
And, as most of the target customers’ in this segment is well travelled and well read, informed, they know the importance of good ingredients and amicable food at a pocket friendly. “Unlike a Quick service restaurant, the casual dining restaurant not just focuses on the quality of food to be served or delivered but a lot more value added services adds on to this particular format,” adds Yadav.
With dominance from domestic players ACDRs have seen high growth inviting international chains like Pizza Hut and Carl’s Jr to invest deeper into the segment.