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Food and Beverage 2009-12-08

Going Organic

The craze for organic food is catching up fast in the Indian fast food market. Though, it has been around the globe for quite some time but the Indian consumers have recently recognised its benefits. Read on to know about the concept and benefits of organ

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

With the rising demands of high quality and ethical food, few restaurant owners have introduced organic food in their menu. Organic dishes are prepared from organic ingredients that are naturally grown without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The concept is misunderstood by lot of people. They often associate organic food with boiled veggies, sprouted pulses or tasteless soups. However, the list of organic food has a number of delicious mouth watering delicacies that are made of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat.

The increasing preferences for healthy, chemical free food have made Aspasia Group to expand its presence by opening 40 more organic restaurants across Karnataka in the next two years via franchising. These 40 restaurants would be a mix of group-owned and franchise-operated resturants.. Aspasia Group is the first venture of Bengaluru Urban Spaces Pvt. Ltd, which was initiated in 2007. It has two brands under it; Modak and Tulasi. Modak restaurant is positioned as a mid-range restaurant, while Tulasi comes under ’Darshini’ which is a fast food category. “There is a need in today's market for hotels where the business traveller can continue to receive the 5 star luxuries s/he is used to, but minus the discomfort of 5 star prices,” says Satish Bangalore, Owner and Founder, Bengaluru Urban Spaces Pvt. Ltd. Besides Aspasia Group, Subway also serves their consumers with healthy, low cholesterol and fat free meals to reduce health related problems like obesity, heart problems, diabetes and so on. In this article, our attempt is to bring you the benefits of organic food and its business prospective if included in the Indian fast food markets.

Benefits of introducing organic food in the menu

The concept of organic food is advantageous both for its consumers, who seek healthy and ethical food and also for the franchisor and franchisees in terms of commercial aspects. For instance, if a restaurant owner (franchisor or franchisee) introduces the organic dishes in the menu, then s/he will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Firstly, s/he will make profits by serving organic food in their outlet. This is because organic food rates are comparatively higher than the fast food. Therefore, the food franchise owner and his/her franchisees will be generating high profit margin.
  • Secondly, the concept helps the franchisor or the franchisee in bringing value to his/ her brand name.
  • And lastly, it helps the restaurant owner to increase the sales by serving tasty, fresh and quality products to the consumers. 

Points to consider

Although, there are number of advantages of running an organic food restaurant, but one has to consider a number of factors prior to making organic food a part of the menu.  

  • Firstly, a franchisor has to decide from where s/he is going to source the organic ingredients. The ingredients not just include the spices, flour, sugar and oil rather the vegetables, meat and dairy also. If you have introduced the organic food category in your menu then you have to make sure that whatever you serve should be organic.
  • Once, you are done with the sourcing of organic raw material, you must keep in mind  the budget as organic food costs a bit higher.
  • Thirdly, People usually have a wrong notion that organic food means tasteless healthy food. So, you have to be very careful while marketing your organic restaurant. Moreover, a franchisor has to take full advantage of targeted clientele who always seek for prized ‘organic’ label.
  • Lastly, as the concept is new in India, therefore sourcing organic food supply is a bit tricky affair here. In order to avoid the situation of running out of stock, a franchisor has to prepare a flexible menu. It is possible only if you have culinary skills and talented staffs to manage and serve new dishes after couple of weeks.

Two ways to adopt the organic food concept

Basically, there are two ways of utilising this wonderful concept of organic food. One is to open an organic restaurant and the other is to introduce the organic category in the menu. However, it is advisable to introduce the organic foods in the already existing menu rather than opening an independent organic restaurant. This is because, number of people who prefer organic food over fast food is not really high. However; the number is constantly increasing with time. As Satish says, “Farm to Fork (F2F) initiative of Unity Foundation (a part of Bengaluru Urban Spaces Pvt. Ltd) is focused on producing organic food by a demand driven process with tightly integrated just in time supply chain, whereby farm fresh directly reaches the dining table with the smallest possible carbon footprint.”

Rising health consciousness and demand for healthy food is offering a tantalising opportunity for the franchisor to incorporate this concept in the menu and gain expertise. It will not only help in taking the restaurant franchise business to another level but also generate good amount of money. It is the right time to get started with this challenging yet commercial idea to stay abreast with the latest trends and the best way to survive in the fast changing Indian market.

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