Food service industry trends are changing, primary reasons being Globalization...Exposure...Millennials. While the focus always will be towards quality food, restaurants are also looking at selling an experience to their guest. Restaurants operating in metros and mini-metros are uplifting the predictable but expected restaurant business. While great food & beverage, ambience, pricing and courteous staff are essential factors, people always look for something new and diverse that a restaurant can offer.
Thematic restaurants are quite popular with guest and they do attract a lot of customers. People, of course will discuss and speak of food, but what they also would campaign for would the theme or the décor. Listed are few restaurants that are based on themes, while many may look incredible to dine at, there would be some you wish you didn’t know.
Ice Bar in Delhi is made of ice that includes the chairs and tables too. Guests are provided with coats and gloves. The restaurant maintains a temperature of -10. Kaidi kitchen in Kolkatta and Chennai is based on a jail theme and the staffs are dressed as prisoners and jailers. The Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai prices their drinks according to the popularity; Café Dalal Street in New Delhi too has the same service rules for beverages.
Some more to the list of interestingly themed restaurants
1) 70 mm, Hyderabad; for Bollywood enthusiasts
2) Bhaijaanz, Mumbai; definitely for Salman Khan fans
3) Taste of Darkness, Hyderabad; exactly as the name suggests
4) Gufha, Bengaluru; themed like a natural cave
5) Ciclo Café, Chennai; is India's first Cycling Café
6) Natures Toilet Café, Ahmedabad; probably India's first-ever toilet themed cafe
7) Tihar Food Court, New Delhi; South Asia’s largest prison complex. Nothing unusual, except that the employee, like most of his colleagues, would be a convict
Another trend that is catching up is “Food on the Move”. The concept is based on mobile cafes and restaurants. The set up could be on luxury buses, coaches or vans. While the concept has gained a lot of popularity in the West, making it commercially viable in India would lot depend on development of the infrastructure and streamlining of traffic? Hijackk in Ahmedabad is a mobile bus restaurant. They have a fixed menu which they change frequently and the customers are taken around for a hour and half ride in Ahmedabad.
Latest innovation that’s really interesting is Edible Cutlery; imagine if the cutlery used could be edible. Hyderabad based Bakeys Food Pvt. Ltd has recently launched edible cutlery. They are made from edible flours; flavors can be added according to customers’ preference. They are governed by regulations laid by Food Safety & Standards Act. Whether restaurants will introduce them into their daily operations and would guest love it only time would tell.
To achieve success in any business format, one has to be different with pragmatic business sense. While it’s good to be fervent on innovation, restaurateurs should be cautious to not compromise on the basics like food quality, hygiene and friendly staff.
-Ms. Bindu Menon
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD