The Downfall of the Great Indian dining Experience
The Indian food industry which once had quality and fine dining experience as its two strong pillars is now all about business and numbers. Whether it is your Pizza being delivered in 30 minutes or your food coming through your smartphones, the one thing that has clearly changed in the recent times is that more and more people now prefer their food coming in boxes ordered from the comfort of their homes through their smartphones rather than going out to a restaurant to grab a bite.
A fine dining restaurant is known to have a formal setting with a fancy and elaborate menu. It is almost always a sit down restaurant providing an unforgettable experience to its foodie customers. Bukhara in New Delhi, Peshawri in Mumbai and Villa Maya in Trivandrum are some of the most famous names in fine-dining in India.
According to the National Restaurant Association of India, the country’s food service industry market will grow from about $40 billion to about $66 billion by the year 2018. Though the figures look very promising, one needs to look beyond them and contemplate at what cost is this growth taking place.
While the F&B industry seems to be going on a smooth sail for now, the restaurant industry on the other hand is expected to a take a sharp dive by the year 2020 and is expected to be replaced by the flowering food-delivery services and quick service restaurants by then.
Here’s a list of factors that are leading to the depreciation in the value of the ages old fine-dining restaurants:
The Fast-food Chains
It is safe to say that the downfall of the great Indian dining experience started the day the international fast food chains entered the Indian market arena. With their world renowned taste and brand credibility, these fast food chains soon started eating into the local restaurants businesses and made a mark in the customers’ hearts for being cheap on pocket, big on taste and quick on service.
Delivery Apps and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR)
Foodpanda and Zomato are the two food delivery apps that have taken the Indian Food industry by storm. This amalgamation of food and technology has been well accepted by the Indian customers and has added to the damage that the fast-food chains had caused to the basic essence of dining out with your loved ones.
It is interesting to note that Zomato initially started out as a restaurant discovery app where one could review a restaurant, see its photographs and assess its menu before visiting the actual place. But, soon the startup added the delivery model to its website and app realizing the big potential that the online food delivering market holds in the country. A Crisil report named Fast Food on the Fast Lane states that the QSR segment will grow into a Rs 7,000-crore-industry by the year 2015-16.
The Food Delivery Startups Industry
The technological boom has also encouraged the birth of a new type of food industry called the delivery based food startups. These startups operate from their offices and don’t necessarily need to have a physical eating joint in place. This means, nowadays all it takes to provide food services to people is an internet connection, some amazing chefs and some delivery staff and you’re good to go. These startups have become a hot favorite among foodies, as at the end of the day, all they want is good food delivered at their homes irrespective whether it is from a restaurant or a delivery startup.
All these aforementioned factors are robbing the Indian customers of having a delightful fine-dining experience and are hampering the business of local restaurants and food vendors at an alarming rate. If this remains the case, we might soon see the complete outset of local restaurants providing local delicacies and the market will be taken over by the international fast-food chains and the Indian based food delivery startups and mobile applications. The recent Foodpanda controversy, where a group of people from a tiny office in Gurgaon took the food app startup for a good ride of Rs. 3000 in the name of restaurants which have been already shut down is an apt example of how these apps are all about business and less about customer satisfaction and food on the whole.
While all these food based apps might be luring the customers with freebies and discount food vouchers but one has to take note that all this isn’t for free. The customer is paying a huge price with the compromise on taste and quality, and a missed opportunity for an exotic dine-out experience.
India is one country where trends get absorbed real soon. Whether it is the selfie craze or the Ice Bucket challenge, Indians are known to embrace every trending thing with open arms. This has been the case with the Cash on Delivery Apps and Quick service restaurants also. While, these aforementioned services are having a day in the sun walking their way to the banks, the ones who are suffering the real brunt are the fine-dining restaurants. This is the reason that the past two years have seen fine-dining restaurants closing at an alarming rate and being replaced by clubs, coffee shops, fast-food joints and these COD apps and QSRs.
Further, it will take no more time for international names like yautcha, serafiena, mama Mexicana etc. to realize the situation and shutdown its shutter for business in India. The negative impact of this on foreign investment in the restaurant industry is expected to increase by manifolds in the coming years.
All in all, the fine-dining restaurant industry are on the borderline of entering a phase which will only result in them going down the hill till the time they become extinct. In order to change this scenario, they will have to act now and snatch their baton of providing a world class foodie experience from the hands of food delivery apps and quick service restaurants.