Luxury player The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts is working on an online food application that will be launched in the coming weeks.
This is a first-ever such initiative by the Kolkata-headquartered EIH as it fights against closed properties awaiting orders of reopening from the government.
Announcement of the plan comes just a few days after Tata Group-run rival Indian Hotels Company which runs the Taj chain of properties announced plans of launching of its own mobile application for food delivery.
To be launched on July 25 the Qmin mobile app will offer food from eight restaurants including of Taj Golden Dragon and Souk from Taj Mahal Palace, Thai Pavilion from the President and Ming Yang from Taj Lands’ End. The launch will cover top ten markets in India including Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, over a period of five weeks.
This comes on the back of room occupancies crippling to less than 20 percent and the average room rates declining during the lockdown period severely impacting revenues.
Talking to analysts, Vikramjit Singh Oberoi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We started with home delivery of food at the Oberoi Bengaluru and we were surprised at the response we got. We extended that to most of our city hotels. We are in the process of creating an app that will allow us to do this on an on-going basis to generate revenue.”
The Oberoi Group runs 23 hotels in India across two brands – Oberoi and Trident – positioned in the luxury and premium categories. Baoshuan, the Oberoi New Delhi, Lapis, the Oberoi Bengaluru and Ziya, the Oberoi Mumbai are some of the popular restaurants that could go live on the mobile app platform. The Group is also looking to secure outdoor catering contracts for its flight kitchen business.
“If need be at a later date we need to partner with flight kitchen. For flight kitchen business we have been actively looking at outside catering such as institutional catering or catering for functions," Oberoi added.
While Hyatt Hotels, ITC Hotels and Accor have partnered established online food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato, India’s biggest hotel chain Marriott has started its own food delivery services called ‘Marriott on Wheels’. Marriott has also tied up with Swiggy and Zomato like its peers.
A general manager from Westin Hyderabad said, “Even before the lockdown hit us, Westin had already developed a strong clientele for its food. So at first we were serving customers with doorstep delivery of food ferried in cars belonging to the property. That model has worked very well and we are now aggressively pushing it ahead since the restaurant capacity has come down by half."
Restaurants have been asked to follow social distancing norms ensuring a distance of six feet between two guests at a common table. This has forced hotel operators to rearrange the seating which has led to reduction in the holding capacity of the restaurant.