As part of the summit, many people from the hospitality industry came together to exchange ideas and experiences.
The second edition of the ‘Zomato Indian Restaurant Summit’ recently took place at Hotel Sheraton. The idea was to bring the restaurant community together, with the panelists and audience comprising working professionals in the food and beverage industry, creating a platform for them to learn from each others’ experiences. It explored the growth in the areas of marketing new outlets, investing and franchising.
The event began with a group discussion on ‘expanding at the right locations in the right formats’, that was moderated by Manu Chandra of ‘Olive Group’. Others on the panel were Ashish Kothari, who runs pubs like ‘Jukebox’ and ‘Legends of Rock’; Vijay Abhimanyu of the ‘SouthIndies’ and ‘UpSouth’ chain and Vasu Krishnamurthy, who started ‘Veekes and Thomas’.
“We wanted to build something scalable, which is synonymous with South Indian food across India. Customisation is important for the success of any restaurant,” shares Vijay, referring to his chain of restaurants. He adds, “A lot of factors need to be considered — local catchment area, target audience, rental costs and of course, the competition.”
When the topic of mall outlets came up, Ashish amused the audience with his honesty when he made the controversial statement, “In your own restaurant, you do the fumigation and control the rodents.
But malls are the filthiest place in the world!”
As the summit progressed, more anecdotes and personal experiences were shared, making it enjoyable to understand the perspective of the speaker. There was an hour-long discussion on the ‘best practices in franchising’ between the heads of popular joints like ‘Nando’s’, ‘Kaati Zone’, ‘Daily Bread’ and ‘Subway’ among others, which was quite insightful for those present.
“It’s the best platform for people from the field to meet, find out where the other is heading and help each other. But I feel that they should bring in the government to the summit and focus on licensing and legal formalities as well,” shares Joshua Abraham, an attendee.
Another impressive presentation was the one by Saurabh Sengupta, Zomato country head, on ‘leveraging social media more than just (in the face) marketing’. Referring to case studies like ‘Doolally’s Beer Santa’ and ‘Tacomentary’, he explains, “Every brand has its own personality and voice, which can come out via social media. We don’t even need to go far for ideas — it’s all there in the local culture. You just need to look for cues to work on.”
Gaurav Jain, of ‘Mast Kalandar’, gave a talk on marketing new outlets; Purdiner Chaudhuri of ‘Pasta Street’ spoke on hiring, training and retention and the keynote address by Pankaj Chaddah, co-founder and COO of Zomato, looked at the company’s growth and expansion plans. But the highlight of the evening was the launch of this year’s edition of their food guide, ‘The Connoisseur’s Guide To Eating Out 2013’ by Rocky and Mayur, hosts of popular food show, ‘Highway On My Plate’ and Zomato’s brand ambassadors.