Food safety and hygiene will replace price as the biggest differentiator in the future
The biggest challenge all businesses, particularly quick service restaurants, are facing is customer sentiment, which is driven by fear, food business operators told Moneycontrol.
Food operators expect at least it to take at least six to nine months for consumer confidence to return.
“We, as an entire fraternity, need to figure out how to tackle that fear as best as possible," said Nitin Saluja, Founder, Chaayos, said at a webinar organised by Retailers Association of India and National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).
Concurring with Saluja, Zorawar Kalra, Founder & MD, Massive Restaurants, added, "We need to move away from using the word contactless dining to stress-free dining. The only way to get the consumer’s confidence is to let them know that ‘we have your back’. Customers need to be assured that eating at a restaurant is actually safer than eating at home since we have more checks and balances in place.”Kalra runs iconic brands like the premium fine dining restaurant Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra, revolutionary modern Indian bistro Farzi Café, Made in Punjab, modern pan-Asian bistro concept Pa Pa Ya, MasalaBar and Kode.
Pratik Pota, CEO, Jubilant FoodWorks, a master franchise of Domino's Pizza, said the crisis is not just a demand crisis but also a supply one. “Supply chains have been disrupted; inventory shrinkage is bound to happen. There will be supply shrinkage along with demand pullback,” he said.
Pointing out the silver-lining, he added, “The fundamentals and the potential of our category have not changed. I would say that six to nine months would be a good time frame to get back.”
The most optimistic was Sagar Daryani, Co- Founder & CEO, Wow! Momo Foods, who believes that India will be the fastest country to bounce back.
Speaking about changes in the way the business operates, the entrepreneur said, “Our entire business models are going to change and that’ll change the business models of the entire ecosystem.”
Industry titans felt that as consumers become more discerning about hygiene, they will move away from street food to the organised sector. They also pointed out that consumers who were hesitant to adopt digital and delivery are now embracing both.
Food safety and hygiene will replace price as the biggest differentiator in the future.
As a concluding remark, Anurag Katriar, President, NRAI; ED and CEO, deGustibus Hospitality, said that to win over consumers we will need to take a plethora of ‘confidence-building’ measures.