One of the key elements to run a successful restaurant business is to understand the psychology of the customers. The restaurants are being vigilant towards the customer experience and their taste. As the restaurant businesses are upping the ante, we see newer marketing strategies coming to the fore. But, it is always the main product i.e., food, that rules the industry. Therefore, businesses, along with various unique promotion ideas, are focusing on organizing the authentic food festivals at their restaurants.
It is not just the food that goes along when restaurants come up with a food festival. The ambience and décor have to go with the theme of the regional cuisines. The Shalimar Hotel organized Bombay to Mumbai festival at its Gulmurg restaurant; the festival aimed at bringing the ‘old’ and ‘new’ food cultures of Mumbai together under the same roof.
The fest brought ethnic cuisines together from over six parts of the city - Mohammed Ali Road, Bandra, Juhu Chowpatty, Dadar, Girgaon and Sion Koliwada.
“Gulmurg has done several festivals over the years. We just decided to be different this time highlighting this most vibrant city which we so love. However, we decided to be unusual and cover it over time, from when the city was Bombay to now when it is Mumbai. We looked at locations in Mumbai which were famous for their cuisine/s. We have tapped food that is a popular sample of the adaptative confluence of the city, food which is culturally syncretic and great in taste,” says Yash Advani, Director of The Shalimar Hotel.
“Doing a festival in the hotel restaurant is a challenge on its own, however, it’s a challenge that has to be addressed positively to give the guests the most authentic experience, be it service, decor, ambience but most important quality cuisines,” he adds. “Food festivals give the team at the restaurants to think differently. And that’s how we create a favourable experience for our guests. It is a challenge for us as we do a lot of planning, and conduct trials to make the authentic food fest a culinary delight,” says Yash Advani.
When planning for the food festivals, the restaurants must keep the budget on the radar. This ensures the smooth flow of the management. However, the most important fact is the customers should go happy.
“Curating unique regional cuisines and organizing the authentic food fest is the demand of the restaurant businesses as well as the market,” observes Chef Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, who owns Afreen Dine and Delivery in Lucknow and Raan Mahal in Riyadh.
“You need to be cautious while deciding the ingredients of the dishes. People could be allergic to some of the ingredients, like itr,” says Mujeeb-ur-Rehman.
Executive Chef of ITC Hotels Bengaluru, Dhaval Ajmera is of the similar view. “By organizing authentic food festivals, we have noticed a 20-25 per cent increase in the customer footfall at our restaurants,” says Dhaval. Restaurants should showcase the unique regional cuisines, suggests Executive Chef Dhaval Ajmera. “It gives an upper edge.”
The authentic menu brings the food cultures from a particular region to the table. People love to know and explore the richness of the cuisines from the various parts of India, which are not much popular. “You get Andhra food but you don’t really know what Brahmin Andhra food is. Similarly, Karnataka is much beyond Coorg, it’s actually a melting point of the cultures. At ITC, we got the Uttara Karnataka cuisine on our recent food fest menu,” says Chef Dhaval.
With authentic food festivals, restaurants could display the region’s flavours and cuisines. The major element of organizing food festivals is to give your guests a unique experience. And once the customers are happy, footfall increases automatically.