B Swaminathan (email@example.com)
One common issue every industry in India faces is the way regulations are coined curtailing the growth of the country. Indian hoteliers are not an exception. National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), one of the leading associations in the country having operations in 13 Indian states has elected a new team. Kabir Suri the former Vice-President has become the new president and shares some insights on the market, pandemic, association, and more.
Wishes on becoming the president. How is your designation treating you?
Thanks. I was very much into the system. I was part of the leadership during my previous tenure too. My team is very much focused on growth and sustainability. We would want to increase members in every nook and corner of the country. The other focus would be enhancing the government relationships which we have already. We were behind many regulations from the Governments.
Speaking on the Government norms, what is the feedback from the industry on the mentioning of the nutrition value of every food product?
It might be easier in other countries. However, in India, I am not sure if that is possible India. India is a complicated market with a lot of unorganized players. While we welcome the move, we also request the government to give breathing time for the industry to adopt the new policies. Because the one big hindrance for the industry is kind of regulations. I am sure, the hoteliers might need time to adapt to the system. However, mandating the mentioning of the FSSAI number in tax invoices is a welcome move as it will streamline the industry in a better way.
Where do you face challenges in government regulations?
Regulations. There is one funny quote in the hospitality sector- “It is easy to get a gun license than getting a one for sandwich shop’. Hospitality is one sector that generates huge employment for the citizens. Ideally, we should have one separate ministry to look after us. However, we have to knock on the doors of every other department for every single aspect. For example, if the FSSAI is the only food safety body, why do we another agency under state governments. We would ideally request the government to ease the way of doing business.
How do you see restaurants are becoming a hotspot for many start-up companies?
The barrier of entry in restaurants is lesser. However, sustaining in the industry is challenging. Failure rates are higher in the sector. Start-ups entering the sector should understand the challenges the sector is facing and do not see the glamour element which is visible only from the outside world.
With online delivery taking center stage, which format of restaurants would perform better?
Any form of a restaurant that is clean and hygienic would perform better. I predict QSR will perform big in terms of both online and offline. We also noticed many IPOs launched by many QSR companies. However, the rise of e-delivery is an alternative for home-cooking and not eating outside. Humans need a social life. We cannot imagine social, professional, and family gatherings without restaurants.
Compare online delivery of India with other continents
If we look at other markets, the business models are not that successful compared to India. Reason- India being a technology hub, we would be having all the latest technologies at affordable rates. Also, with the population we have, I see food portals are doing extremely well.
What are the other key trends you predict?
I foresee the increase in kitchen automation and billing technology to be adopted widely as there is huge cost-cutting has happened across the verticals. While hoteliers learned a lot of lessons from both the waves, hoteliers are also trying to attempt newer revenue options which they had never done earlier. For example, restaurants that were never present on food delivery platforms started entering the space. We need to wait and see if the coming year will challenge the Indian hotelier to innovate or survive.