An ardent lover of food, a wanderer by heart, and with a fine ear for great music, our Managing Director, Mr Debaditya Chaudhury, had perforated the sphere of art, music, and food at a very tender age. His narratives often assert his age-old tendency of trying out food from his classmates’ tiffin boxes, where he ended up reviewing them. Gifted with an innate taste of flavour, Debaditya grew up near an Indo-Chinese restaurant witnessing the flocking of crowds throughout the day. That is what budded the interest towards Oriental cuisines in the heart of young Debaditya, and of course, his added quality of the musical persona, the madcap nature became the drives to his urges. Back in the days, Debaditya became a popular face amongst the young college-goers with his unconventional music style and thrived into the musical arena along with his fellow band artists of Lakkhichhara. However, his versatile nature always pushed him into going beyond the boundaries, and that is when his foodie instinct triggered him.
Restaurant Industry is one of the most vulnerable domains that has navigated through the rough waters in the last couple of years. There was no escape of it right from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we witnessed a brisk shut down of almost every sector. It wasn’t just a worldwide emergency health crisis; it also came our as one of the greatest challenges faced by the restaurant industry around the world.
Restaurant industry being one of the most important segments in the service sector of the Indian economy, the aftermath was pretty disastrous causing India’s first ever recession. We never witnessed with so many restaurants and cafes getting shut, with no hope of re-opening again. There is no denial what had stripped off the economy during the first half of lockdown between 2020-21 was reason enough that made a total flip over to the restaurant industry. In fact, it was the first ever industry to reverse back to it’s height by the second half of Covid-scenes in 2021.
Getting back full-fledged is never an easy task. The food industry’s recovery has been halted during the last few months due to the various direct and in-direct reasons in the phases of ‘New Normal’. One thing that is helping the industry to get back on its toes is ‘Adaption’. The owners of restaurants, cafés, hotels or even road-side eateries continued to understand the needs of their customers while adjusting to the unprecedent situation that was a first for everyone.
On one hand, the pandemic situation led to fine-dining restaurants and even luxury hotels to start their delivery operations for revenue and to be able to reach out to their target consumers who aren’t stepping out of their homes. This norm has continued to exist with India’s biggest hotel brands still focusing on not just the dining but delivery aspect also. While on the other hand, some restaurants relied on a new system of operating with cloud kitchens; restaurant like ours, which internalized a preliminary infrastructure of cloud-kitchen operation years back were grasping on and coping up to rise the ladder of advance configuration in terms of restaurant operation.
Currently, the restaurant situation is slowly adapting to the various implementation, cloud kitchen being the first one. The convenience of infrastructural setup has on one hand reduced the investment; on the contrary, had provided more employment opportunities for exceeding delivery operations. Here, comes another facet of restaurant location. In Bengal, the festive season begins right with the onset of Durga Puja. And last year, despite the Pandemic, almost every restaurant witnessed a long queue. Dine-in piqued during those hours, with restaurants being open till 2am, while maintaining all the federal & state laws. In our case, we had to let go a huge crowd because balancing the overpowering demand both for delivery and dine-in was pretty difficult. What had to be kept in mind was to adapt to the new structure.
Another important factor that is leading the food industry is the importance of authenticity while focusing on the hygiene. These days, consumers are looking for enriching culinary experiences that have been carefully curated for not just their taste buds but good for their overall health also. The current consumer pattern shows the substantial increase in the interest of having healthier meals and products.
2022 has come out as a shining year for many industries after almost 1.5 years of slow business. Today, pandemic is kind of null and void although covid remains to exist. There has been a substantial increase every month in the demand for eating out bringing revenues many businesses close to pre- covid levels. However, technology has imparted a huge benefit and its essential for restaurant to internalize them irrespective of whether or not pandemic reappears.
As a restaurateur, I feel all the important facets like sanitization, regular cleaning of touchpoints, introducing QR has harnessed a huge alteration with the beneficial outcomes. Technology has channeled down more feasibility in our daily restaurant operation. We as an industry should not simply revert back to the usual way of doing business before the pandemic. This is a golden opportunity that we need to seize for creating better innovation and move towards newer developments.