The future of the food trade
A quick scan of a popular listing website reveals that there have been at least 14 new restaurants opened in the past 2 months in Mumbai alone. That’s almost an average of 2 new restaurants per week. And yet, are you amazed at how difficult it is to get a table reservation these days? It’s a consequence of revenge: people make up for lost time by not going out in the past year.
As for me, the week usually looks like a big blur, but I know it’s a Friday morning that the messages start to come in, pleading for a table. It’s either someone in the gang who was tasked with making this reservation but who clearly forgot and will be in big trouble. Or they’re in town for One. Night. Alone. Or it’s a grandparent’s 85th birthday and they really wouldn’t like to disappoint them (yes, octogenarians are coming out too). And it’s not just for a table in my own restaurants, but also for requests for other restaurants in town. Surely I have to know everyone in the fraternity?
This is in addition to the variety of options presented by delivery brands that continue to launch every other day. It’s no longer cool for a celebrity chef or a downgrade for an established restaurateur to launch a delivery concept. In fact, it now makes perfect sense to cover your stuff for all palates and all culinary formats, whether it’s an experiential meal out or a comforting meal at home. And the valuations of delivery aggregators only ratify this trend.
So now all restaurant owners and cloud kitchens are looking for jobs. Interns from catering and hotel management schools, as well as concert workers, are all welcome. Additional points if you are doubly vaccinated.
Earlier this year, restaurants were on the verge of getting back on their feet. The din of a bustling dining room was like music to our ears and the chefs were happy to be up twelve hours a day if that meant hearing the nonstop buzz of the kitchen ordering cash machine. That changed when we entered a second lockdown with no end in sight.
It was the layoffs of the past year that sparked entrepreneurship among many. Chef-led home delivery brands and artisan food products have flooded the market. From Himalayan cheeses to vegan ice cream, kombucha tonic water in small batches, sourdough and nut butters to South Indian coffee beans and cocoa pods, the house labels are the path to follow. Interest in consumer goods in India peaked in 2021 and the packaged food market is expected to double to $ 70 billion by 2025.
But, with all this evolution in the food business, we realized that the mediocre no longer steals. It’s not just about living life to the fullest and making to-do lists. Whether people order in or eat out, the number of options available has made them more demanding in their choices and expectations. Diners want to make the risk of having that meal out count.
While the restaurant and catering industry may have one of the highest failure rates, with a staggering 90% rate in the first year of operation, we, the eternal optimists, continue. . Because there will always be room for breakfast, lunch and dinner and no intermittent fasting will slow us down. So plan your reservations earlier, as even nepotism may not get you a table these days.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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