From commercial capital to food capital, the glorification of restaurant biz in Indore

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From bubble tea to frozen yoghurt, to momos to ice-cream parlours to a baked potato to sandwiches to Anda Ghotala, Indore is slowly moving towards becoming the food capital of the state.
  • Sakshi Singh
Restaurant

When discussing food in Indore, the first thing that comes to mind is its world-famous Poha Jalebi, Matar ki kachori and Usal Poha. But Indore is exploring its way out to become a diverse city when it comes to the food business. The commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh has been an experimental city for many businesses and startups but the best one for restaurants and cafes. The testimony to the statement is in the year 2017, the number of restaurants and cafes opened was 380 and this number is growing since then.

Not only is the city known for its rich heritage and culture but it is also known for its food, education, and commerce. It is the only city to have both IIT and IIM which adds more charm to it. Talking about the advantages and disadvantages of the hospitality sector in comparison to large cities like Delhi or Bengaluru, it will be unfair to say that there are only disadvantages associated with it.

From bubble tea to frozen yoghurt, to momos to ice-cream parlours to a baked potato to sandwiches to Anda Ghotala, Indore is slowly moving towards becoming the food capital of the state. Posh plates too are flying from metros to tier-2 cities, Indore holding much potential.

“The cost in the city is pocket-friendly, also since distances are less, commuting time is not a major problem here. Additionally, Indore has a large number social crowd with great spending capacity,”  Prantik Ray, Area General Manager of Sayaji Indore commented. The restaurants at Sayaji Hotels in Indore are receiving positive responses from the patrons.

However, stating a few of the hiccups that the city is facing in terms of f&b business, Ray commented that the spending capacity in metros is more when compared with tier 2 cities also lesser corporate events shave off a major chunk of corporate revenue.

Regarding cuisine, inter-continental or global cuisines are making their way to the tier-2 markets however these are mainly for classes and not masses. The choice for masses has also moved up the ladder and cuisines like authentic Chinese or Italian food are finding more avenues in the current marketplace.

Additionally, the manpower that is available in states like MP and UP is tremendous, labour cost is manageable or rather cheaper than most avenues, rentals are mostly depending upon the area and locations and licenses are easy to attain. “So multiple levels of approvals and follow-ups are a saviour in smaller towns if we compare to the metros or larger markets,” Ray added.

For brands like Biryani By Kilo, which delivers biryani across 25 cities, having a presence in Indore comes with the advantage of having lesser marketing costs to reach the mass and lesser competition as compared to tier 1 cities. “But the disadvantage of tier 2 cities is that it has a smaller market size as compared to Delhi or Bengaluru so the number of outlets decreases drastically which directly affects the sales,” Vishal Jindal, co-founder of BBK informed.

Indore overtook Kota in terms of students scoring the highest ranks in various competitive exams. Thanks to this news that happened some four to five years ago, Indore has become a student hub now with more and more students coming to the city each month. This has given rise to many cafes in the city.

The Chai Bar, one of the coolest hangout places in Indore receives a footfall of about 300 plus customers daily, out of which 60 to 70 percent are repeat customers. “About 60 percent of our monthly earnings are promised by our loyal or repeat customers”, said one of the employees at The Chai Bar. 

With a leading population of 83.94 percent of Hinduism and Jainism in Indore, it won’t be wrong to call it a ‘veg’ hub. “Yes, Indore is undoubtedly a vegetarian market, 70 percent of the population is vegetarian, leaving a market share of around 30 percent for the non-vegetarian customers”, shares one of the owners of a pure veg restaurant situated in Old Palasia. 

“Indore market is a market meant for foodies, food culture irrespective of dine-in or take away will never fade away. People in the city are always keen on trying new avenues and open to exploring new tastes which is a great add-on. The market has great potential and will significantly grow with the outsiders and migrating residents from other cities for both educational, job, or business purposes,” Ray feels.

Adding to Ray, Jindal feels that there is certainly a significant potential for the restaurant sector in cities like Indore as much as it is in any other city in India. The food and beverage industry is growing exponentially in India by generating a revenue of USD 70 million yearly. And this is only growing every year, so saturation is not even an option with these numbers.

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