The era has gone where a restaurant with a decent menu to offer in air-conditioned setup excites customers. Customers are asking for more which is resulting into the concepts of hookah bar or the beer café. The restaurateurs are on their toes to offer fun and more surprises on their customers’ plates. The session “Innovation in the Food Service Industry: Driving Sales and Profitability” at RLS 2013 takes an analytical look at this topic. The eminent panelists were Farhan Azmi, ceo, Infinity Hotels Pvt Ltd; Riyaaz Amiani, ceo & md, Impressario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd; and Gauri Devidayal, Director, The Table. The session was moderated by Samir Kuckreja, president, NRAI and ceo, Tasanaya Hospitality. According to Amiani, the restaurant business counts on word of mouth and the innovation is highly recommended so that the people talk about it. Playing with imagination at every level, at every touch point, be it sitting arrangement, the environment and even cutlery actually speak volume and only contributes to the brand recall.
Azmi viewed that the best ideas come from the frontline since they are closest to the customers. But, sometimes execution takes a toll on the customers.
Devidayal opined that competition drives innovation and restaurateur should identify the gap in the market and make their offerings. Kuckreja underlined the success story of McDonald’s which is based on innovation in terms of menu. But how much tweaking should be done? The panelists opined that well-travelled customers in India look for global experience so there should be cautious application of customization to cater to Indian taste buds.
These restaurateurs inspire their staff to come up with new ideas and translate them into innovative execution.
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