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The crispy dosas and vadas now have global recognition and so, the south Indian food restaurants have prepared themselves to expand even faster. From lighting up the ambience to putting graffiti on walls to serving the most delicious and different styled Dosas and vadas, South Indian food restaurants are doing their best bit to outshine in the industry and stay ahead in the race. We tell you more on the happenings on this side of the food industry and how brands are overcoming challenges and shining in the sector with healthier food options.
The Indian food service industry is expected to reach US$ 78 billion by 2018. Most South Indian food restaurants have crossed boundaries and gone to other states as well. Now, their prime focus is offering something diverse to the customer for more footfalls and reaching out to more cities and localising their food via franchise partners. Devyani International Ltd’s brand, Vaango is a popular South Indian QSR that is now ready to hit the B towns like Gwalior, Bhilai, Dehradoon, Amritsar and many more. Vaango has 27 outlets pan-India. The brand has an international ambience, graphics on walls and caricatures to attract for customers and offer them great feel with a speedy service. It’s COO, Praveen Bodduluri quips: “Now people look out for healthier food options and what better than South Indian food. Recently, I read an international article on must have foods in lifetime and Dosa was one of them. This food has less oil; it can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or even dinner. So, why not expand the network and reach out to more number of cities.”
Another well known brand, Sankalp has 150 outlets in seven countries. Of these, eight are company owned and rest all franchisee-run. The company works on the franchise model for expansion. Sankalp is also soon starting State-wise Master Franchise, giving entrepreneurs more opportunity to grow in this lucrative venture. This way the company plans to open 70 more outlets by the end of FY-2015. It’s Chairman and Managing Director, Kailash Goenka's mantra for success is constant and continuous innovation. He says: “The company strives to introduce unique and innovative products every now and then. This year we added new and interesting dishes like Schezwan Dosa in our South Indian fare. We have very recently launched World Cuisine in our Saffron chain of restaurants. This is an amalgamation of dishes from the world over. Adding to our brand value, recently The Group ventured into the RTC / RTE – Ready to cook and Ready to eat segment with a range of convenient and quick solution healthy meals. These packaged food products will be available very soon across India in leading convenience stores and supermarkets like Walmart.”
Staying ahead the curve
South Indian QSR’s are making their global food taste local for specific cities they enter into. Vaango has introduced Idli Chat and many other items to bring a twist to the regular food offerings. It has also started 30 min home delivery for NCR. When you step inside their restaurant, they assure serving food in just 9 minutes else it’s free. The Indian gourmet food market is currently valued at US$ 1.3 billion and is growing at a CAGR of 20 per cent. It is expected to cross US$ 2.8 billion by 2015. To stay ahead of the competition Sankalp has gone international too. Out of the 150 outlets successfully operating, majority are in India and for its international clientele, Sankalp has 12 outlets in USA, Canada, UK, UAE, Australia and New Zealand. Lately, Tamil Nadu based Saravana Bhavan also launched Real Fruits ice cream from their Saravanaa Dairy Rich. Also, to lead, the brand introduced fresh baked Pizzas of international standards. With these strategies, Saravana Bhavan has gone at the forefront and also opened numerous outlets internationally with one of the most best performing restaurant in Sydney.
On the challenges faced Goenka of Sankalp comments: “The South Indian food joints face vast competition as it is one of the popular cuisines of India. Sankalp works hard to stay ahead in the race by serving authentic fare and a wide range of unique innovative dishes.” Bodduluri of Vaango says: “There is a challenge of readily available chefs across the industry and to overcome this we have hired young professionals and trained them properly. The mentorship is done by the chief chef who is an expert in making south Indian cuisine. The ground staff works in and out for the customers at a tremendous speed and they have to be understood. Like- If we have come outlets where the 9 minutes else free concept is not working, the staff has to be given a solution for that or else it has to be changed.”