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As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


F&B industry at the cusp of a major change



To promote and strengthen the Indian food service sector, LC Nirula of Nirula’s, Madan Lamba of Volga, OP Bahl of Khyber Restaurant, RD Gora of Gazebo, AS Kamat of Kamat Restaurants and other leading restaurateurs founded the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) in 1982. Termed as the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, NRAI aspired to lead it to greater profitable growth, representing the interests of members through advocacy, training, research and industry events. Not this alone, through its efforts, NRAI aims to advocate changes in the laws governing the Indian restaurant industry at Centre, state and local levels; provide opportunities to educate and train members and their staff and play a key role in promoting skilling and career opportunities for industry professionals.

In September this year, co-founder and director of Azure Hospitality, Kabir Suri took over as the President of NRAI. Associated with the NRAI since 2017, Suri has played a major role in the success and growth of famous brands like Mamagato, Rollmaal, Mamapaati, Dhaba by Claridges, Foxtrot Speedy Chow, Celeste Food Services and Sly Granny. Today, NRAI represents the interests of over five lakh restaurants pan-India, an industry valued at almost Rs 4.23 lakh crore.

Sharing his plans at NRAI as its new President, Suri says, “The F&B industry is now at the cusp of a major change and I shall strive to lead Indian F&B industry into a new era of prosperity, participation and positive perception which advances and safeguards the entrepreneurial spirit. The last 18 months have not only been tough for the hospitality industry but for all of us. Though this situation is beyond our control, we need to and have to navigate through this uncertainty. We, at NRAI, have spent a lot of time with our members during this challenging period and remain committed to support them in future too.”

Suri puts in that he considers each Indian state as a different country. “I feel so as the rules and regulations are different in every state. As we can’t alter that, we, at our end, need to further strengthen each NRAI state chapter body and chapter head. We are now looking at increasing NRAI’s base from the present-day nine to 20 over the next six months,” shares NRAI President, adding that plans are underway to strengthen presence in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities as well. The idea is to have collective unity among fellow restaurateurs and the industry in general. “And to further strengthen what exists,” he puts in.

As the period of pandemic has created a new trajectory in the delivery business and a number of new players have forayed into the industry, Suri feels they need support, guidance and functioning fundamentals. “We are working on it and trying to consolidate it for them for a secure future,” he says. 

NRAI, informs Suri, is currently in talks with the Government on different fronts, with e-commerce policy being one of them. “With it coming into play, we need to figure out as to how we deal with it and how will it affect our business. We need to find solutions for our members,” he puts in, adding that the Association is also working on GST inputs. 

The NRAI President feels that while e-commerce is on a macro level and the changes in excise policies are on a micro level. “A new excise policy comes into action on November 16 in Delhi-NCR. We need to figure out as to how NRAI will deal with it, facilitate it and support its members,” he adds. 

Suri informs they are now at a stage where things are getting closer to completion, be it the excise policy where they lobbied for the change of age from 25 to 21 that has already been passed as has been the extension of time of opening of restaurants till 3 am. “We are also lobbying with the Government and the Home Ministry to allow us 100 per cent occupancy as the domestic airlines have already been permitted the same number,” he shares.

Sharing his opinion on cloud kitchens being the future, Suri says, “Cloud kitchens and delivery business is here to stay. I think cloud kitchens are replacing home dining. What that means is that we’re reducing the number of meals we cook at home. So you either go out with family or friends or colleagues for a meal or you order food. So the more you order food in which is basically either through delivery kitchens or cloud kitchens, you make less food at home. So you are basically reducing food consumption at home.”

On the role of technology in the business of restaurants, especially during the period of the pandemic, the NRAI President says that it plays a major part which has been propelled during the last 18 months. “Technology has made the whole experience seamless and there has been an ease in doing business. A lot of changes are still happening and that’s surely for a better tomorrow,” he puts in.

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