Catering is one of the most unorganised business people have known so far. It is in last two three years that it has started taking a shape. The catering services industry in India has been consistently growing at the annual growth rate of 15 to 20 percent, and is expected to attain the worth of INR 40,000 crore.
“There is sea change in the catering business in last 25 years. Earlier people would settle down for few dishes and they used to enjoy the food and went back home. But today the things have changed people are well travelled and are well versed with the best of food and experience. People have a lot to experience these days. Also, the waiters have to be flared in whatever they do. They need to be more creative, artistic to be in this business,” shares Chef Puneet Sikand who founded The Kitchen Art Company with a motive to redefine the culinary landscape.
It’s not Just Food in Catering
Old and rural recipes are the trend in catering these days. Indian food is always been popular. 70% of any catering is towards Indian catering. Though, the market hosts very fashionable international catering but the preference is always is the Indian food. The fusion food is good where it stays and a person who has the taste and flavour of experiencing this can go for it but when it comes to catering there this fusion food is very limited. “Without good food no good caterer can exist but lots of affect in terms of sizing and execution capability is important as catering or wedding cuisine has gone into lots of metamorphosis in last few years,” points Sanjay Vazirani, CEO & MD, Foodlink Services, adding that people have travelled a lot and there is lots more requirement about the food in terms of knowledge today.
On the consumer front, with change in trends and lifestyles globally the consumption patterns have changed internationally and in our local Indian market it is continuously evolving. Increased mobility, exposure, aspirations and availability of a substantially wider range and products are all contributing to this phenomenal change. Catering is no more limited to weddings and birthday parties in the country.
“When you look at menus 30 years ago it was small, but today people like to bring 7-8 international cuisine in the menu. The starters are huge in number and some starters are on circulation and there are starters which are part of live counters. And, that’s how the industry has changed. People want more not in terms of item but innovation,” says Pranay Bahl of the Embassy Catering adding that people these days want to see innovation in every single cuisine and if you are not able to give them quality, quantity and range you are out of the race.
Earlier, catering was only about good food but now there are other ancillary things like the way you present the food, the kind of dramatics you are able to do with the food where you are talking about the food. There is lots of work needs to be done in the service, the equipment and how you handle food. “People these days like to know about the backend integration. For e.g. 4-5 years back people where least bothered about where the food is being cooked or if it is cooked at the venue and those cooks or Maharajas were smoking right there. But today people wants to know what kind of central kitchen you have, what kind of transport system you have and to build that experience we are mobilising food in temperature controlled vehicles and van,” adds Vazirani.
Commenting on the same, Ved Krishna, MD, Yash Papers says, “People need to have variety of inventory in catering and food and that’s how where we fit in.”
Hence, we can say that if you are serving only good you can grow in catering to some extent but to get some order value you will have to touch upon all these factors.