The quick service restaurant (QSR) industry that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic would take 6 to 9 months to get back to normal business, according to Jubilant FoodWorks CEO Pratik Pota.
Also, he said the industry is facing problems on both demand and supply fronts.
“Supply chains have been disrupted, inventory shrinkage is bound to happen. There will be supply shrinkage along with demand pull back,” said Pota in a webinar hosted by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) in association with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).
However, he said, the fundamentals and the potential of the QSR segment have not changed and it is just a matter of time “I would say that 6-9 months would be a good timeframe to get back”.
Jubilant FoodWorks operates fast-food chains Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts.
These are “unusual times” for the industry, he said. However, Pota also added that there are some new “encouraging trends” for the sector.
“What we are seeing is that consumers who were not adopting delivery and digital means earlier are embracing that now,” he said.
Besides, the ticket size of purchases has also increased as people are confined into home and are together, Pota added.
Moreover, JFL is also witnessing a spike in the order of non-vegetarian foods.
“Contribution of non-vegetarian is increasing because it’s hard to buy fresh meat,” he said adding, “now as the meat market is closed and not easy to access, I think a lot of people are moving to brands like us for non-vegetarian food”.
In the longer term, he said home delivery would grow as also online and digital orders would see significant rise.
Smaller towns would turn to such delivery more frequently than earlier, Pota said adding that post pandemic, consumers would look towards trusted brands due to safety and convenience concerns.
“If we look beyond two quarters, I see the ambition and aggression of Jubilant FoodWorks unchanged,” he added.
Tea cafe chain Chaayos founder Nitin Saluja said customer sentiment right now is driven by fear.
“We, as an entire fraternity, need to figure out how to tackle that fear as best as possible,” he said.
Wow! Momo Foods co-founder and CEO Sagar Daryani said :”I believe that India will be the fastest country to bounce back.”
On new trends in terms of operations going ahead, he said, “Our entire business models are going to change and that will change the business models of the entire ecosystem.”
Impresario Handmade Restaurants CEO and MD Riyaaz Amlani said that though the industry is battling with the sentiment, there is a lot of pent-up demand.
“There’s a case to be made that there is revenge buying but there is also going to be a lot of tentativeness. You have to know your restaurant well…,” he added.
Zorawar Kalra, founder and MD, Massive Restaurants, said, “We need to move away from using the word contactless dining to stress-free dining. Customers need to be assured that eating at a restaurant is actually safer than eating at home since we have more checks and balances in place.”