The CEO meet at Food Forum India 2009 saw major giants from the restaurant world sharing their experiences in the light of ongoing financial slowdown. While Tejpavan Singh Gandhok, CEO, Lite Bite Foods claimed that there is no recession in the food business, other CEOs said that their business suffered a hit by a minimum of 10 per cent due to the economic downturn.
Ajay Kaul, CEO, Domino’s India too confirmed a 15 per cent drop in sales since last 2-3 months though their Rs 35 pizza was seeing a very good response.
AD Singh, director, Olive Bar & Kitchen mentioned how post the downturn his Bangalore restaurant was showing a hit of almost 40 per cent.
According to Sunil Kapur, MD, Blue Foods, the food court business initiated by them was showing a negative growth but otherwise the other formats were performing well.
Dhiren Kanwar, SVP, Future Capital Real Estate, mentioned the need for innovation and observed that it was important for the industry to launch innovative concepts to pull in more customers. To beat the effects of the downturn, Roger Narula, emphasised that it was time to re-engineer everything and that recession in a way was a very good time to look at expansion. Monish Gujral, CMD, Moti Mahal too held the same opinion that recession was the best time for expansion.
All present agreed that if at all anyone was planning to get in to the restaurant business than the one most important thing to be kept in mind was – ‘passion’ for the business. Money alone would not lead the game since without passion taking the business ahead would be a tough fight. Another important factor to be kept in mind is that mindless expansion. According to Gandhok, “While expanding check the cash loss capacity.” One valuable input shared was to focus on unit expansion and then go mass.
The panelist at the meet unanimously put passion for th business and hard work as the driving factor for success.
— Zainab Morbiwala, Mumbai Bureau