Going out to a restaurant just for food is too mainstream. The ongoing trend of theme-based, innovative concept-cafes at least tells us that. While the trend has been here for a couple of years but the steady growth in it has definitely proved how people are now going out for a whole new experience besides just good food. With Covid cases in a downfall and increased vaccination, the industry veterans are getting back in action. While some have twisted and rejuvenated the old pending projects, some have taken the risk of exploring something unheard of. The country is watching new restaurant launches every day but what is ecstatic to notice is the diversity of new restaurant concepts the patrons are being open to.
The Indian restaurant industry 2.0 is more diverse, full of risk-takers and more creative than ever. For many, it is just the right time to enter the market. Real estate prices are currently down, the acquisition has become easier and there is also a lot of talent that has developed in the F&B sector during the lockdown. Stakeholders anticipate that the overall demand is going to increase in months to come as more and more people get vaccinated. “If you have been wanting to start something in the F&B sector, then this is definitely a great time,” Vandita Purohit, Founder, Mauji Time Cafe commented.
Where you pay for the time spent
Recently launched in Pune, Mauji Time Cafe claims to be India’s biggest pay-by-the-hour cafe and also the first BYO space. The team did a little survey and went around asking people going to cafes, the purpose of their visit and surprisingly more than 70 percent of people said that they were visiting a friend, or wanted to work from somewhere else. Their main purpose was not coffee/tea. But all of them order tea/coffee because they feel obligated to.
That’s when Purohit thought a time cafe would be an interesting solution to this problem. At Mauji one can sit whatever time they want without feeling the pressure to place an order. Moreover, at Mauji the coffee is on the house, unlimited.
“We have a food menu too, but one doesn’t have to necessarily order food, they can bring their own food or even call for food from their favourite restaurant and have it at Mauji (that’s the BYO concept). I have ensured that the place is aesthetically pleasing and our customers love spending time here, whether it is with friends or for work, or even just spend some time alone. The idea is to pay for the time and not food and beverage,” she said.
Other than that Mauji Cafe has a store, a studio space, a workspace, events space, and maker space that allow serving a wider audience's needs and demands.
Bean to Bar Cafe
The Indian craft/artisanal chocolate industry is small and everyone is working hard to bring good quality chocolate from Indian cacao. However, Sheetal Saxena, Founder, Colocal believe roasting and poaching are two techniques that keep us ahead of other brands in terms of taste and quality of the product.
Colocal’s live bean-to-bar factory sets them apart from their competitors as it is helping the brand to create a deep-seated impact in the chocolate industry by educating people about the intricacies of chocolate making.
“We source highest-quality cacao from the southern states of India and follow a lengthy 13-step process that includes techniques like roasting, conching, tempering, etc to skillfully handcraft premium quality chocolates in our factory that is open to the public,” saxena commented further informing that the team is opening its first chocolate retail store with a cafe attached to it in Khan Market in the last week of October.
From fine-dine to gaming, all-in-one
Experience is all that is remembered and the current pandemic has shown that many times. Experiential unique concepts are the way to go. The recent success of Game Palacio has shocked brand creators. Game Palacio claims to be India’s first to house boutique bowling, fine-dining, gaming arcade and nightclub experience. The flagship site is at Bandra, Mumbai and the next upcoming venue would be Delhi and Chandigarh before the end of this year.
“The positive response from our patrons and the repeat clientele is also exposing a new way of thought for outing in the city and the country. A concept like Game Palacio has only been seen in cities like New York and Las Vegas. All these people are waiting to go out now. Gone are the days that only good food and alcohol was all that mattered. People want to step out into the community and remember this. If we see all the new offerings in a city like Mumbai and all the F&B outlets that are doing well – all seem to have a unique identity and offers,” Naresh D, Partner, SW Entertainment, Conceptualizer and presenters for Game Palacio commented.
Naresh opines that as an industry, food and hospitality has already started moving to the next level and has a lot of opportunities for growth and expansion in the future. “When presented well and off a certain level, people across all age groups and all socio-economic backgrounds are stepping out locally. A lot of concepts are being presented each day and there are many on their way. If we look at this negatively, situations like the pandemic have already hit us. The F&B industry has already seen 2 lockdowns like the rest of the country. People are adamant and moving into a better future. I do not think anything is stopping us now,” he added.