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Food and Beverage 16 Jan 2014

Tantalising Profit \'The Momo Way\'

Restaurants have introduced Momo in their serving in a great way!

By Nusra Deputy Features Editor

Momo has been a road side hit among the foodies but of late few restaurateurs have felt the food has huge potential and have introduced Momo in their serving in a great way!

The growing culture of eating out has also made people to love momo for its taste and healthy proposition. Besides its USP of being healthy, the product offers a  healthier business opportunity too. Interestingly, Momo is native to Tibet, the dim sum to China and jiaozi originated in Japan and all look almost the same.  A report by The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) says Chinese cuisine ranks India's most favourite after local food.

Will the trend stay? 

Lately diners have become much more conscious when it comes to eating out; the rising number of low calorie dishes and restaurants serving healthy food is a new trend in the market. And Momo appropriately fits the bill.

Aashita Relan, Owner, Royal China, says, “Most of the starters we find are either deep fried or cold salads. Both are so extreme. Dim sums are one thing that is in-between. It’s healthy and yet filling. Hence I feel this trend will continue in Indian market and habitually will wake up the gourmet in you.”

Prashant Issar, Vice President Operations, KA Hospitality Pvt Ltd, which runs restaurant like Yauatcha, elaborates, “Dim sum is a favourite choice among many as it is healthy and delicious and comes in several varieties. At Yauatcha, we serve over 45 different types of dim sums. The meaning of dim sum is ‘touching the heart’ and they are tiny parcels which explode on the palate as variety of flavours, so I think it will last longer.”

Royal China which is known for its authentic Chinese cuisines, says Momo is the most popularly ordered food in their restaurant. Reason being they had recently  executed ‘unlimited dim sum lunch’ festival where a  customer can come on any seven days during lunch time and pick from 80 different types of dim sum at any quantity. Cashing in on the trend, there might be opportunity to see more exclusive Momo restaurant like Yo Yo Dim Sum.

Menu tweaks

Dim sum entered India in the form of Momos that were more of a Tibetan street food, usually stuffed with vegetables or chicken. Dim sums that the Chinese brought were more elaborate, classier with a thinner skin and a variety of filling options. The dim sum or the Momos are not only served in the traditional Chinese style, but restaurants have tweaked it to suit it to the Indian taste.

Relan says, “We have added more of chicken, vegetable and some spicy dim sums to suit the Indian palette.”

Issar says, “We have not added any Indian elements as our chefs are expats with more than a decade of global experience. All the food items are conceptualised by them. We do create items specific to India but they are international recipes. However, our menu does have a balance mix of vegetarian dishes.”

Momo kiosks

Local vendors and small kiosks are found serving the Chinese dish at every nook and corner. A plate of Momo has over 70-75 calorie compared to that of 1 plate chicken wings which has 159.0 calories which is more than the calorie count a person needs for the day.

Mayur Mathur, Owner, Yo! Dim Sum, a small take away Momo kiosk, says, “Takeaway is an easy setup and the product is very popular among Indians with increase in demand with each passing day.”

Adding to the popularity of Momos, he further says, “We get approx 200 orders a day and I think it’s huge.”

Growth potential

The current growth of the restaurant industry shows that the market potential is surely encouraging for home-grown existing players as well as the foreign brands. While major European and US brand like Yauatcha has entered under K A Hospitality, London's dim sum eatery Ping Pong has also entered the Indian food market under Mirah Hospitality Group in Mumbai. Another name-Mr Momo has six outlets in Delhi/NCR and prefers opting for the franchise route for quick expansion. There is a bunch of eateries that specialise in hundreds of varieties of these dainty delights and most of them prefer taking the franchise route for getting bigger in less time. Both Mr Momo and Royal China are looking for appropriate franchise partners.

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