India has always been a country steeped in rituals and one that promotes its indigenous industry. In recent times, however, an emerging trend has been observed in country’s restaurant industry. While most Indian families earlier preferred eating at home, they are now accepting the trend of eating-out. In sync with this shift in the consumer behavior, the foodservice industry in the country is thriving, to say the least.
At the same time, the food and beverage sector in India is constantly changing and evolving, and so are the market trends. The restaurant sector has become so large that is accounts for 31 percent of the consumption basket in India. As per a report from NRAI, annual sales in the restaurant industry are US$ 783 billion and annual food and beverage purchases are at US$ 279 billion.
Such huge consumption pattern across India’s restaurant industry has not only exponentially expanded the business but also helped it to branch out into various platforms. There is a plethora of heterogeneity that can be found in the industry and it has led to the launch of different dining concepts:
- Fast Casual Dining: This is a concept that originated in the United States. It refrains from offering full table service but promises higher quality food than basic fast food restaurants while using fewer frozen and processed ingredients. It is a concept that finds a balance between casual dining and fast food chains. The category is exemplified by chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shake Shack, and McDonald’s.- Casual Dining: As the name suggests, a casual dining restaurant serves averagely-priced food in a casual atmosphere. Except for buffet-style restaurants, casual dining restaurants always provide table service. Casual dining is a market segment that is an intermediary between fast-food establishments and fine-dining restaurants. These restaurants usually have a full bar with separate bar staff, a full beer menu and a limited wine menu.
- Premium Casual Dining: These restaurants aim at striking a balance between comfort and opulence of fine dining restaurants, while still offering the not so formal ambience and light environment of casual dining restaurants.
- Fine Dining: Fine dining restaurants are full service restaurants with meticulously curated meal courses. The décor and ambiance of such restaurants features higher quality and establishments often having certain rules of dining that visitors are expected to follow, often including a dress code or laid out regimen.
- Gastro Pub: Sometimes also referred to as a gastro lounge, it is a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food. The vibe of these pubs usually borders on casual where games are often screened. The terms was coined in the 1990s, but similar brewpubs exited during the 1980s.
- Bistro: A bistro is a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in modest setting along with alcohol. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve, which are curated with a lot of special emphasis and dedication. French home-style cooking, and slow-cooked foods like cassoulet, are typical fare at bistros.
As food is an integral part of Indian culture, it has always been something that Indians have related to. It also brings together families when they go out to have meals. Modern restaurants are a by-product of a modern revolution. As an increasing number of young folks leave home to work in other cities, takeawyas and fine diners are becoming necessary. This is an interesting trend, which is leading to an increased interest from investors in India’s restaurant industry. And with more investment coming in, there is marked expansion in the foodservice sector with outlets in various formats being launched. India Food lovers have lot to look forward to in terms of varieties of cuisine and dinning formats in the coming years.
The fastest emerging restaurant concept in India is undoubtedly the casual fast dining segment. The explosive growth of this segment is thanks to the huge appeal it holds for the young generation of customers, including Millennials, who are looking for variety, novelty and value. The casual and fast casual dining segments will continue to register impressive growth in times to come, on the back of several factors weighing in their favor, making the segment the spearhead of India’s restaurant business growth story.