“Everything from analog has gone digital in restaurant biz”

Short Description
Talking to Restaurant India Abhi Umesh Mehta, MD, Little Italy Juhu talks about the change that Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the sector.
  • Nusra Deputy Features Editor
Abhi

What changes has the Pandemic brought to the restaurant business?

The biggest change that I have seen is that dine-ins has stopped and people have started ordering in more. I feel we are not able to give the customers the same experience as the skill factor has changed and we are unable to give the same touch and feel factor we had earlier. It's a temporary phase, it will start again and we all have to learn a lot about it. The good change that I see is that restaurants have learned a lot about hygiene factors, a lot of restaurants did not maintain hygiene factors, this phase is a learning experience for them and hopefully, this will bring in a lot more change in the future. The change came in a bad way but I think it is good.

Little Italy

What are some of the changes happening at Little Italy Juhu?

We have seen a rise in deliveries; we see an increase in the number of orders coming in as well. Apart from this, the billing system, the menus, the format in which a customer can pay a bill have changed too. Everything from analog has gone digital.

We see more and more Restaurant brands are entering into the cloud kitchen business. Why so? What’s your plan?

In my opinion, Cloud Kitchen is a very good concept to run a restaurant as long as you know what you are selling. The concept even before the pandemic was good and even during and after the pandemic will remain good. At Little Italy Juhu we have a particular SOP that we follow, we take up only certain things but with other brands or products we may enter the Cloud Kitchen space as well.

Little Italy

You are celebrating 25 glorious successes in the business. How have seen the food trends changing with time?

Food trends change almost every once in 1- 2 years; the more people come to know about different food and cuisines. Earlier, people wanted Indian food, then continental food came in and in continental you have Keto diet food and vegan food. So the trend keeps on changing, it all depends on the acceptance of people and the understanding of what they want to eat and what is right for them. You have to grow with it and serve customers according to their needs.

You are known for serving fresh, locally sourced food? How much do fresh and locally sourced ingredients contribute to a restaurant’s success?

One of the USPs of our restaurant is the freshness of the food. A well-presented dish is important,  but in my opinion when someone takes the first bite of their food the freshness and ingredients that are used just explode in the mouth. When the mouthfeel is achieved you have locked that customer for life.

Looking at the current situation, how much are you working on the safety and hygiene of your customers?

The safety and hygiene of our customers is of utmost priority right now, we have been delivering from day one of the pandemic and we have survived to deliver for 6 months without any accidents, that is really good. We care a lot about our clients’ safety, staff’s safety, our own families’ safety and we have been following all the protocols that have been laid down. To ensure more safety we have laid down our own safety and hygiene protocols too.

What is the number of orders that you are doing in delivery and what is the average ticket size?

Our average ticket size would be INR 1000 - INR 1100 and the Average number of deliveries in a month would approximately be 500 - 700 orders.

Little Italy

Tell us something about Little Treats Patisserie. What innovation can we see there?

Little Treats Patisserie has been designed to cater to two segments, the first segment is the vegetarian segment - we have quality desserts that you usually get abroad. We are going to serve new clients. Apart from this, we are capping the vegan market, vegan desserts that are not openly available anywhere else will be available at Little Treats Patisserie.

Lastly, what’s your expansion plan?

We have had an expansion plan for a while, we have just been waiting for the right time.  A few opportunities are lined up, let see how it works. We definitely have an expansion plan and business will pick up soon as well, we are looking forward to it as well.

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