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Cut-copy-paste is passé: Bengaluru restaurants customise menus as per taste-buds of culture & locality



BENGALURU: Cookie-cutter or cut-copy-paste menus are out. The taste-buds and culture of a locality sets the flavour profile of a restaurant’s menu now. A restaurant serves different dishes at its branches, depending on the location.

Watson’s bars in Ulsoor, Vasanth Nagar and JP Nagar serve different dishes to suit the hyper local tastes of the localities. Experience shows that their bestsellers and low-sellers swapped positions in sales between their properties a year ago. It prompted them to reinvent their menus with region-specific dishes. “The audience at Ulsoor, mostly creative professionals, are given a menu with more pork and beef dishes. JP Nagar, with a bigger local population and migrant-techies, are being served an elaborate north Indian menu. The mixed crowd of Vasanth Nagar gets more vegetarian items on the menu,” says partner Sameer Chib.

Even the music played at the outlets are selected to suit the demographic profile. While Ulsoor gets to hear Bob Dylan’s tracks, Vasanth Nagar listens to old school rock and JP Nagar hears current popular numbers.

While most restaurants have stuck to a 25-35% difference in the food menus between outlets, restobar Sotally Tober has scaled it up to 75%. Duck samosa and pork belly with whisky honey of the Residency Road outlet has been replaced with cheese samosa and Kodagu’s pandhi (pork) curry at the restobar’s Koramangala outlet. “Koramangala has younger migrant-techies who like local flavours. It has more chicken eaters than the central business district, which receives a well-traveled crowd from all walks of life that likes to try world flavours and meats,” says partner Karthik Shankar.

Rather than attracting people from other areas, which is a big ask given Bengaluru’s heavy traffic, Shankar feels it is sensible for restaurants to keep local residents happy.

Akanksha Chaudhary, GM – sales and marketing at Azure Hospitality, says, “In hospitality, menu curation, recipes and liquor listings differ across cities and localities. A great deal of research goes into consumer behavioural patterns to create the right mix.”

Thus, the selection of food items, spice levels, crockery and presentation differ between Foxtrot’s Marathahalli and Koramangala outlets. The IT crowd of Marathahalli prefers familiar stuff like tandoori soya chaap, but the younger ecommerce crowd at Koramangala indulges in a seafood risotto.

The different demographic profile between seasoned palate profile of UB City and hip Indiranagar prompted Sanchez and Sriracha to approach food in a new way. While 60% of the new Indiranagar outlet menu comprises its signature dishes, 40% has been dedicated to live tables like Japanese robata and taqueria or live taco station. “The approach to devising new menus depends on the catchment area. The audience and the product should match while educating customers on niche flavour profiles.”

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