If you look at restaurant business before pandemic, only 4-5 % of the business was online. The country was setup in a way that 70-80% of the business was offline. It suddenly happened overnight that all the offline business had to shut down. And, everybody has to adapt bringing huge changes to the restaurant business. Few people went online, some have ventured into the cloud-kitchen space and others have started DIY concepts.
Building on fresh products
“We built a relationship of trust on social media, phone marketing etc. But we realized on first week of the lockdown is that we will not only target the dining tables of the guests but we would very quickly get into the refrigerators,” shared Praful Chandawarkar of Malaka Spice who immediately moved their strategy and brought their organic farm into the forefront innovating products from it. “We thought; let’s really get the farm to the table. We packaged it smartly and started delivering it to the refrigerators and not just the tables. We did this with all kind of cuisines, farm produce and also Malaka Market where we supply fresh vegetables and fruits. We made Thai curries, pastes, juices, puree which can be used in cocktails. We did tap beer, alcohols etc. We started packaging brunches for family, single meals etc. We innovated, we were nimble and we also built our logistic system. We get real commercial gain in the last seven months,” he added as they entered into the delivery space 23 years back and has worked with small aggregators in the city as well as aggregators that came later on.
Targeting on delivery
Similarly, Sumit Gulati of Spice Market who is running his restaurant from 2008 ventured into the delivery segment in 2011 and have started their cloud-kitchen business in 2019 because for them delivery business was equally important.
“We did 40% of our biz from delivery and in fact our business during the pandemic went up to 130-140% as compared to the sales we have done during the same time last year,” added Gulati for whom product, menu hygiene, neatly labeled menu and a nicely done packaging is important when you are operating a cloud-kitchen space.
Theirs is no denying that everyone today is looking at delivery as an option. They may either focus on delivery kitchens or open dark-kitchen brands.
“Offline is a great way to build connect with consumer but the future of consumption is the way technology is being consume today. You optimize a lot of things- the food, packaging, value for money and innovation and continue to revive what is it that your customer wants. Covid has been tough on us as well like any other business but in the last couple of months we have witnessed the business coming back on track,” added Ashwin Jain, Founder, Instapizza that is a delivery only kitchen brand. “We used to have couple of dining places but from last five years we have completely focused on delivery.”