-Vishakha Goswami (email@example.com)
To promote the awareness and advancement of the hospitality consultants and foster ethnicity in the hospitality sector, as many as 80 consultants across India who are into various projects had come together and formed an association. Titled as Food Service Consultant Association of India, the forum was founded by Rajesh Chowdhury, Founder Director at H&S Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd. in September 2021.
Speaking on the need for a common platform, Rajesh says, “The idea came to my mind when I was working with an American company, we used to do projects with consultants where we used to take them to the factories. Over the years, I realized every consultant could bring different ideas, thoughts to the table which will enhance the creativity in our industry. To execute this, I thought to create a powerful body where collaboration amongst consultants could bring a positive impact in the hospitality sector. ” According to him, in the current scenario, there is a need for the industry to collaborate and work together. Thanks to the association, a few consultant members are working together and they bring cross-border projects. The main objective is to bring people together for the greater good.
Rajesh got inspired after seeing the effective functioning of various consultant-driven associations at the international level. “I saw there are forums wherein the consultants collaborate and build impressive projects. There is a governing body to maintain the ethics and code of conduct for the industry. I want to create a platform for all the consultants where they could get recognition and reward for their contribution to the hospitality industry. ”, he says.
Quoting the example of a consultant Sanjeev Deshmukh who is doing a central vista project which is one of the most prestigious projects in the country, Rajesh said the importance of recognizing those people. “Many consultants have done some wonderful projects but there is no recognition. That is the key reason I wanted to create this body where we represent all the consultants under a single forum and the government could give them the due respect and rewards which they deserve”.
About the association:
There are about 250-300 consultants out of which there are about 100 who are doing it in an organized way. The association is in the process of grooming more consultants so will have more consultants and members, we are also targeting international consultancy, organisations to be part of it. “Therefore, we can create an international knowledge-sharing forum where we can initiate a dialogue. We plan to create a platform where we will organize consultant’s-meetups to be sponsored by brands and companies where all the consultants across the globe come together to share knowledge, ideas, thoughts, provide training and more.”
Rajesh wants this forum to be independent so that they will have funds to sponsor consultants to go for learning expeditions. “If a consultant wants to visit a particular factory, our association will take care of the expense. A consultant can enhance their knowledge and skills with the help of this association. We are ideating to organise some tours where consultants can go and learn the techniques not just by seeing the product, but they can go into the factory and see how things are made, there are lots of things that we are planning. “, Rajesh says.
Key activities of your association
“ When we do consultants meet in places like Maldives and Srilanka, we get almost 70 to 80 consultants coming together from all over the world. Imagine how many people would be willing to sponsor them? So that’s how we raise funds and that funds we would use for the growth of the consultants and their development.”, questions Rajesh who also raises his collar on the quality of Indian consultants.
There are consultants from India who are doing projects all over the world. There are consultants from India doing projects in Africa, UAE, hundreds of projects in Nepal, Srilanka. Some international consultants are probably not doing any work in India. The association is likely to be at a platform whereon international exhibitions our consultants get the chance to speak which will give them recognition globally.
Rajesh also raises the need for consulting as a subject in hospitality management schools. Absolutely. “Efficient management is the most important aspect of education which our next generation of hospitality sector should know. There are consultants in Mumbai who is willing to train students on consultancy skills. We are starting a particular course in Nepal, Sri Lanka to educate and aspire. Many experienced consultants are willing to impart their knowledge and experience to youngsters.”
Is there a demand for creating quality consultants?
Asked if there is a market demand for quality consultants, Rajesh feels that there is a demand for a good consultant one side and on the other side, most of the organized consultants are unable to tap the projects from the government. There’s always a scope of renovation in a hotel that is 20 years old. “To renovate, you need a new idea. You can’t put the old system again, back to polish and put it back. You need to change and make something new, bringing some new technology of energy-saving, cost-saving and more. All these things need to learn, how to manage, doing all kinds of complicated projects.”, Rajesh said.
The primary motive of the association is to make it global. “Secondly, we will create some standard operating procedures and some formats where people can benefit. This will also be a forum for investors where they can come and understand before even investing in a hotel. They can get a free consultation from us and understand if they should invest or not. We are also trying to build a bridge between the hotels and the government.”
On his concluding note, he had this suggestion for the new entrant in consulting: Do not see it as child’s play. “There is huge money and investment involved. Firstly, they should not compromise on standard and quality and they should be fully equipped to do the project. I would say a consultant should be an honest person, he should be well equipped and one should get significant experience and do an apprenticeship and get into the field.”, he concluded.
Testimonials from members:
P.Sravan Kumar, Co-founder, Excellence Hospitality, Hyderabad.
With the pandemic hitting the market, many hospitality professionals after losing their job, started calling themselves as food consultants. Thus the comparison of apple to orange increased in the market. As a prime motive to sanitize the industry and ensure seasoned professionals are in one platform, there was a need for this association. Also, few consultants went behind the The traditional ways of doing businesses has changed. Many human-driven proccesses are now tech-driven and somewhere the consultants moved away from mainstream. To address all these, I think this professional forum will not just help consultants for a better knowledge sharing but also will enable clients to find consultants who are not just having experience in the industry, but also can understand the business needs of the clients. We also aim to impart consulting as a course of education in the hospitality schools.
Swarn Kamal, Consultant , Opstrah Consulting:
This forum is ideally a boon to the Indian consultants are coming together. If you see, health-care professionals including doctors Every profession needs knowledge sharing to happen at various levels. Thus, the idea is of bringing various consultants on one roof is amazing. As consultants, we also look for avenues like what works for a particular person and what does not work. We also look forward for exchange of ideas an innovation that will mould the industry together in a positive way. We are happy with the way the knowledge sharing is happening amongst us. Moving further, we are looking forward to enhance the standards.
Rahool Kr Talwar, Executive Director, Rethink Hospitality.
The food service Industry in India is ever-growing. Our association aims to get all the food service consultants across India as its members. The Indian cuisine & food service industry has its set of unique challenges that are also precise, demanding in nature & solutions to these challenges need to be tailor-made rather than just aping the west. The acceptance of such tailor made solutions can be rolled out to the masses, if the food service consultant fraternity works collectively for the betterment & future of the industry which we work for. Standardisations and certifications for Hospitality & food service industry can be rolled out more swiftly, representation in forums like the FSSAI (Food Safety Standards of India), MSME (Micro Small & Medium Enterprises), National Building Code (NBC 2016) Selection Committee (as food service design is a culmination of many services ) etc., will be collective & easier to put forward.
The body also aims that there will be a transfer of knowledge from the stalwarts & Equipment OEM’s to the Juniors members via diverse modes like knowledge sharing sessions, seminars & online learning.
Collectively FSCAI will contribute in Nation Building in its own unique way by
- Improving products manufactured in India by a collective effort of standardisation by working with OEM’s (Atmanirbhar Bharat) & also
- Making food service establishments in India prepare & serve food in clean & hygienic environments thereby contributing to a healthy India (Swasth Bharat) by also supporting Eat Right India & Serve Safe campaigns of FSSAI.