The NRAI president and Director of deGustibus Hospitality weighs in on the importance of ordering straight from restaurants in order to make the food delivery business viable and enhance diner experience.
Right at the outset, Anurag Katriar, President, National Restaurant Association of India and Executive Director and CEO, deGustibus Hospitality, makes it clear that the deliveries are only a small part of a restaurant’s overall business and although they are playing a very important role in keeping establishments afloat at the moment, it can’t replace the dining-in model. “With the current restrictions across the country, deliveries are helping us bring in some amount of revenue. Also, in this situation it is the one aspect of the restaurant business that is sort of insulated against market risks. But, as I have said time and again, home deliveries can’t be a substitute for dining-in.”
The discussion around home deliveries and their business viability has been gathering momentum for some time. With aggregator platforms’ might behind the numerous food delivery apps that have gained popularity in the country over the last few years, home deliveries have become somewhat of a contentious issue when it comes to margins, profitability and eventually, viability for restaurants. Although the concept of home deliveries has been around for quite some time, well before the pandemic and the advent of aggregator platforms, the aforementioned trends have accelerated growth like never before. And in a situation where it’s working as one of the few ways in which restaurants can continue business, it is critical to address it.
Anurag Katriar explains: “The commercial aspect, of course, is at the core of the issue. The spends that a brand has to do on aggregator platforms, be it in terms of marketing, discounts, commissions, to stay relevant, are enormous. Then there are other issues such as lack of data sharing, the compulsion to subscribe to an entire bouquet of services from the aggregator. These conflicts have led to what I call the ‘Order Direct Movement’, which has gained a lot of momentum of late.”
And it’s not just the restaurants which are affected by this business model. Customers too, have a lot to gain from ordering in straight from restaurants. “There is an emotional connect between the diner and restaurant. On an aggregator platform, we don’t really know who the customer is, everyone is simply listed as an order number. If, however, you are dealing directly with the establishment, we know your preferences, we can engage, we can provide you with an experience that will make you want to come back, not to mention the discounts that we can viably offer you. At my restaurants, we have customers who have been regulars for years, and we have a lasting relationship with them, because that is what lies at the core of the industry.”
TravelDine’s #straightfromrestaurants campaign is aimed squarely at supporting this very Order Direct Movement. Hosted on our microsite, diners can access menus, specials, exclusive content of partner restaurants across the country and order in straight from the restaurant without any mediation in the middle. Not only does it help your favourite restaurant in terms of business viability but also, your experience is one that is personal, customised and memorable.
Watch the full interview with Anurag Katriar for anecdotes, analysis and answers straight from the hip.