There’s no denying that restaurant industry is one of the worst affected sector due to the pandemic. As the country returns to post-pandemic normalcy, and restaurants, pubs and bars around the country reopen after over a year-and-a-half long lockdown, millions of Indian food lovers are returning to their favorite restaurants in town, thus triggering a nationwide revenge-eating phenomenon.
According to the latest report by Restaurant dining and tech platform, Dineout, Delhi, Kolkata & Hyderabad have shown the maximum recovery among metros, with Delhi & Kolkata now operating at nearly 2X of Feb ‘21 levels.
Among smaller cities, Jaipur & Ludhiana have shown maximum recovery and are currently operating at nearly 2.5X of Feb ‘21 levels.
The average order value at restaurants (ATV) in July-August has also increased by as much as 20% since February, with smaller cities like Agra (24%), Indore (29%) & Ludhiana (35%) registering the biggest surge in restaurant order value - pointing at a much-needed release of the pent-up demand for good food & socialising with friends & family.
Interestingly, smaller cities like Agra and Ludhiana have also registered the largest average orders of INR 2509 and INR 2766 respectively! This is owing to the rise of luxury & fine-dining outlets in smaller cities, and that a significant number of professionals are now working out of their home towns & spending heavily on dining out.
A return to luxury dining
Owing to the higher disposable income thanks to our WFH lifestyles, luxury dining across India has increased by as much as 120% & fine dining by 105%, and the average number of diners per booking has also risen.
As offices are reopening, lunch hours are also getting busier at restaurants - 39% of bookings are for lunch hours in August ‘21 compared to 27% in Feb ‘21. Hyderabad (50%) & Chennai (45%) see the maximum business during lunch-time, while Bangalore has shown an increase in lunch-hour bookings from 24% in Feb to over 44% in August owing to the 9 PM curfew. Compared to pre-lockdown, Mumbai has shown an increment in lunch hour bookings, from 24% in Feb to 39% in Aug- this is likely due to restrictions in dining out during dinner time. Among smaller cities, Lucknow has almost 40% dining out during lunch hours, highest among smaller cities as opposed to Agra, where lunchtime bookings dropped from 29% in Feb ‘21 to 17% in August ‘21.
“Most food-lovers across the country have been sitting on the fence for over a year and a half about going back to their favorite restaurants in town. It's understandable why millions are now thronging to their favorite eating joints as the COVID-19 health advisory is lifted, and that they can finally step out, and into their favorite restaurants and not be forced to have their meals on their couch,” shared Ankit Mehrotra, Co-Founder & CEO – Dineout.
The other notable trend is the obvious consumer preference for ‘vaccinated restaurants’. Out of 50,000 outlets across 20 cities listed on Dineout, around 67% outlets have fully vaccinated staff. Interestingly, these outlets have contributed 72% of the total business in August ‘21, with Ludhiana, Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow, Delhi & Bangalore boasting the highest percentage of dining out at vaccinated outlets.