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Startup 2014-01-28

Hot-ing up Indian restaurant biz

The potential of growing big in the industry is immense; however there are certain measures that a restaurant start up owner can think of adopting.

By Deputy Features Editor
Hot-ing up Indian restaurant biz

Indian restaurant business is witnessing an interesting phase where there are instances of shutting down doors of non-profitable eateries on one side and on the other side few are experiencing exponential growth. In this paradox situation, what ingredients make a restaurant business sustainable? A closer look!

The growth story of Indian restaurant business is majorly contributed by factors like changes in the lifestyle, a growing younger population, rise in nuclear families, wider exposure to new culture and cuisines etc. Capitalising on these factors, several restaurant start ups have come up with their specially designed assortments. Few are offering special fine dining experience with stupendous food, few are experimenting with QSR chains and few have also brought ‘dine-in-car’ concept. A report by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Technopak says the size of the food services market in India is estimated at USD 48 billion in 2013. This is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11 per cent over the next five years to reach USD 78 billion by 2018. The report also says the market is mostly unorganised where chains account for as much as five per cent of the total market.

Saurabh Sengupta, Country Head-Zomato India shares, “In India, like anywhere else in the world, in order to succeed in the food service business it is important to make sure that one is up-to date about the competition and the current development and demands in the industry. The important ingredients of success in a food service business would primarily be a strong conceptualisation of the business model as well as identification of the right location for the restaurant or cafeteria. Along with this, one can't ignore the importance of making food available for democratic consumption - that it is affordable and also palatable. After all, 'you're only as good as your last meal served”.

The potential of growing big in the industry is immense; however there are certain measures that a restaurant start up owner can think of adopting. For example:

Clear concept

Starting a restaurant business is easier than making money out of it. One such ingredient that makes a restaurant success is its clear business concept. For example, why do millions of people visit McDonald's every day? Food? No. They go to McDonald's because they know exactly what they will get there. McDonald put a lot of emphasis on maintaining consistency and predictability. Customers know precisely what they're going to get regardless of what particular McDonald's restaurant they visit.

Having your own operating system

Each restaurant start up is different from the other and therefore there is a need to develop need based operating system. Restaurant owners who take the time and effort to involve their staff and consciously determine how they want their restaurant to operate can enjoy some huge advantages over those who don't. For example, such operating system can make the start up stand apart from the unprofitable start-ups and can quickly reduce associated confusion during the start up phase. A system of checklists forms and procedures should be made matching the requirement of the restaurant start up.

Quality people on board

It always helps to have quality employees on board who are serious about their work. For this, clear guidance and training to the restaurant staff should be provided. Job descriptions, training manuals and employee policy handbook too will be beneficial. 


A unique operating system and quality people together can create consistent customer experience. A clearly designed system makes it possible for restaurant staffs to repeat a performance that creates a consistent experience for guests. Consistency is the key for creating a great reputation and loyal, repeat customers.

To sum up in the words of Hemang Bhatt, Director, HAS Juice Bar, “Expanding a business revolving around food is extremely critical and time consuming. Apart from the ‘fresh’ element other important factors for a successful food outlet is the location, hygiene of the kitchen, appearance of the place and the attitude of the staff”.


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