These days it is very important to ensure that the food and beverage products served to us at any restaurant or school, college or office canteens are safe and consistent.
We hereby take an insight into how important is quality check in F&B sector and what measures are followed by the organised players.
CG Campbell once said, “Quality isn't something that can be argued into an article or promised into it. It must be put there. If it isn't put there, the finest sales talk in the world won't act as a substitute.” Everyone wants to have hygienic and safe food and that makes quality control the most imperative part of the F&B sector across the globe. Either a roadside hawker or a restaurant of any five star hotel, no one wants to serve anything that is rotten and unfit to consume from their kitchen. Quality control ensures the appropriate management of the food and beverage in a comprehensive and inclusive way.
Food for thought
Recently, Delhi government's food safety department found the two popular restaurant chains, KFC and Sagar Ratna, to have been serving unsafe rice dishes. An outlet of these restaurant chains in Delhi is said to have been using harmful artificial colours.
KFC has got thumbs up from Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore as its report says the “cooked rice” sold by KFC “conform” to the general provisions of food safety and standards.
Today there is a rapidly evolving ecosystem of manufacturing partners, logistics partners, audit partners who have domain expertise and understand their role in the overall maintenance of the brands quality promise. This is a classic example of division of labour where each part of the ecosystem functions making the overall task of customer satisfaction more methodical.
Grab a tasteful bite
Based on the reports of KPMG, India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) has published that the Indian food industry stood at US$ 135 billion in 2012 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent to about US$ 200 billion by 2015. Also it says the branded quick service restaurant (QSR) market in India, which has attracted international brands such as McDonald's, Subway, Nando's, Domino's and KFC currently stands at US$ 13 billion and is set to get bigger with new emerging players.
The change in disposable income and consumer preferences in experimenting with myriad varieties of cuisines from around the world has brought about rapid expansion in the food and beverages industry in India. The industry comprises of several sub-sectors in the F&B industry, which is organised and gaining a lot of importance but the fact that India is also a hub of unorganised players in the F&B sector, maintaining quality and serving tasty food is equally important. The industry has witnessed the influx of many foreign entrants who are more concerned about the quality control of the food and to sustain their market presence among the Indian customers.
Best foot forward
Quality control is a structured approach to the management of quality control processes to have standard and safe products for human consumption. In short, quality control is a whistle blower for any F&B brand that creates a buzz in and out.
A US- based chain of pizza restaurants, Sbarro, LLC that specialises in New York style pizza and other Italian-American cuisine considers quality control as synonymous with food safety. While speaking with Naresh Vinod Worlikar, Vice President, International Franchise Operations, Asia, Sbarro, LLC assert: “Quality control is the most important measure for anyone to build a brand. Serving safe and quality enriched food is the essential foundations for the business. Quality control is nothing but supply management of raw material. From purchasing of raw material to inspection, from monitoring of temperature of frozen goods to maintaining proper inventory environment, every manufacturing guideline is to be followed religiously.”
On the same lines, Chaitanya Kumar, CMD, The Chocolate Room ,an Australian chain says: “Carefully purchasing the ingredients, checking the supply of premixes and coping with the power crisis is the key to maintaining quality for our brand. We make 101 per cent effort to serve safe and quality beverages at out outlets and try to maintain the logistics for our packaged and frozen dairy products.” In India, the brand is headquartered in Ahmedabad and is spreading its presence slowly across the country with its well-known hot chocolate, choctails, chocshakes, frappes, pancakes, waffles and fondues.
Quality control is an ongoing process. It is like exercise that an individual is expected to do to keep it fit.
Dheeraj Gupta, Founder and MD, Jumboking believes, assurance of quality is the most basic premise on which any brand generates loyalty from its customers. He says: “We feel the good brands have always been conscious about their QC measures. The advent is new technology is helping them measure more frequently and with more immediate feedback. To ensure quality control at our outlets we have a team which conducts regular checks. We get mystery audits done once a month for each of our stores through an independent Mystery Audit firm. This has in particular helped us improve the overall customer experience at our stores. Also, all our products are manufactured using the latest state of the art technology while our logistics is handled by our 3PL partner .” Jumboking is a vada pav brand having strong foothold in western part of India.
Assistance for growth
Quality is a multi-dimensional aspect and every franchisee seeks round the clock support from its franchisors in its initial as well as in the later stage.
Worlikar believes that cold storage facility while transporting the frozen ingredient and the maintaining the distribution channel is quite a tedious task for them as it calls for lot agility and technically sound logistics. He says: “The guidelines we follow to start the basics of our quality control at every franchisee run outlet is with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). It is a food safety certification, internationally accepted as the most cost-effective method of preventing food contamination from chemical, microbiological and physical hazards. We educate and train our team on food safety and sanitation. We only purchase the raw material from a leading and certified vendor.” Apart from this, Sbarro provides in-depth guidance and support to its franchisees. The team of experts is there to assist its franchisees throughout the entire franchising process and is committed to make the outlet a success.
However, The Chocolate Room with over 100 plus outlets in India is planning to add 50 more outlets across India. The brand is currently focusing on spreading its wings in the eastern region including Kolkata, Durgapur, Siliguri and others. “We foresee great opportunities in east India as this region are an upcoming destination for franchise industry to flourish. People in east are now ready to taste the different food and cuisines while the real estate cost is comparatively less than any metros or tier-I cities,” asserts Kumar. The brand boasts to have well trained staff and offers regular support to its franchisees from time to time. Also, the old franchisees of The Chocolate Room undergoes regular training to upgrade their skills and service levels.
Rashmi Balwani, MD, Upper Crust Foods Pvt Ltd., Master Franchisee Sbarro
How important is quality control for any F&B brand?
Quality control is important because business owners must ensure they serve products that customers want to buy over and over again. The goal of a quality control system is to ensure that each product meets or exceeds a specific standard. A quality control system can also help business owners identify weaknesses in products and come up with solutions for improving them.
How do you manage your logistics?
We maintain central kitchen from where we daily supply to our stores through refrigerated vehicles. We are making fresh dough and sauce on a daily basis. We are also sending fresh cut vegetables to our stores every day.
Discuss the challenges your brand has faced so far in maintaining quality control and what you are doing/ have done to overcome it.
The major challenge we have faced so far is making pizza sauce in India. The quality of tomatoes is not consistent so we are using imported peeled tomatoes. We are in the process of developing vendor to manufacture our pizza and pasta sauce.
Vikram Nagpal, Manager Partner Vision Hospitality Solutions, Brand Cluster Developer, Punjab, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
How is quality control important? How do you manage your logistics?
Quality Control is one of the most important arenas to take care of as a franchisee of any brand as it is the product that helps building a healthy recall rate of customers.
Do you think that brands have now become more conscious about their quality control measures?
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf as a brand maintains very high standards and stringent policies on the shelf life of its products. All the products are lab tested and go thru a multiple virtual testing program to make sure the customer is getting the utmost quality experience.
What support have you received by the franchisor on maintaining the quality control of your outlet?
The franchisor has laid stress on maintaining on all the brand parameters for all franchisee stores across the nation, regular training programs, QC Checks, Mystery Audits, etc. make sure that the brand guidelines are followed in each and every manner.
Food safety and quality certification marks
= The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)has been established under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 to lay down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
= HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)- Food Safety Certification, is internationally accepted as the most cost-effective method of preventing food contamination from chemical, microbiological and physical hazards.
= International Featured Standard (IFS) Food is a GFSI recognised standard for certifying the safety and quality of food products and production processes.
= The Vegetarian mark (green dot symbol) and the Non-vegetarian mark (brown dot symbol). Either of this is mandatory for packaged food products. To distinguish between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
= FPO mark is a mandatory mark for all processed fruit products in India. Certifies that the product was manufactured in a hygienic 'food-safe' environment.
= Agmark for all agricultural products.
= The India Organic certification mark for organically farmed food products. Certifies that the product conforms to the specifications of National Standards for Organic Products, 2000 and any eventual amendments.
= The Ayush Mark or the Ayush Product Certification Scheme for herbal products by the Department of Ayush.
= The Darjeeling tea certification mark, a geographical indication mark for tea produced in Darjeeling.
5 fun damentals of quality control