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    If music can help in selling food, play on

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    ‘If music be the food of love, play on’, said Shakespeare. People in the business of retailing food seem to have altered it a bit, as they catch on to an emerging phrase: ‘If music can help in selling food, play on.’

    If restaurant operators’ understanding of Indians’ appetite is to be believed, we Indians considerably digest all kinds of food and music, and if clubbed, both complement each other quite well: music to sell food, food to sell music. How many times, with movie on mind, do we forget to complain about that overpriced tumbler of Coke or a tray of nachos at a multiplex, or do not mind ordering for an extra platter while enjoying our favourite number in a restaurant.

    No wonder, most of the leading restaurant chains are introducing consumer-centric events that include live music shows in their eateries. Last month, Potpourri, the casual dining restaurant chain from , introduced ‘classical rock nights’ wherein the North East Express Rock band performed every Thursday.

    Speaking to Indiaretailing about the outcome of the event, Sudipta Sen Gupta, VP, marketing and sales, Nirula’s, said: “It has increased our sales by a considerable margin. The event is held on Thursdays as we targeted corporate consumers, for whom Thursdays are the days to chill out. We have music that best suited their choice and are witnessing increased footfall every week.”

    Discussing plans, Sen Gupta said, “We are planning to introduce more such consumer-centric programmes, whereby we hope to add more loyal consumers to our database.”

    Asked if such events can help business grow, a company official from T.G.I. Friday’s told Indiaretailing, “Last year we had organised a rock concert that helped us in gaining more consumers. This year we plan to hold a fashion show, wherein we are going to tie up with renowned fashion designers to showcase their collection in our outlets.”

    Yo! China, a quick-service restaurant chain, has also planned to introduce such events as it is on an expansion spree. Discussing plans, Ritu Kaul, manager, marketing and communications, told Indiaretailing, “We are expanding our outlets and plan to introduce more events that can help us to reach out to more people.”

    Though the chain has not organised any live concert or similar events, it feels that holding such events can definitely help in increasing sales. Yo! China opened another outlet in Hyderabad yesterday and plans to introduce some new formats of eatery chains.

    In contrast, McDonald’s India, the country’s leading quick-service restaurant, holds an altogether different view about such events. Speaking to Indiaretailing, , managing director, McDonald’s India, said, “We do not organise such events as we feel that these are not long-term solutions. Consumer relationship is garnered by the services one provides. Such events do create excitement among the consumers, but are not a long-term business proposition.”

    That said, consumer-centric events have always been an instrument for attracting footfall and, thus, can make considerable difference to the business of food retailing if executed in the proper context.

    – Satrajit Sen