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NRAI’s first-ever Cloud Kitchen Convention witnesses successful fruition



Stakeholders, experts share extensive information, knowledge and insights on the future

The country’s biggest Cloud Kitchen Convention where prominent stakeholders from the Cloud Kitchen space got together and shared extensive information, knowledge and cutting edge insights on the subject was organised by the Mumbai Chapter of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).

Spearheaded by Pranav Rungta, NRAI Mumbai Chapter Head; Director of Mint Hospitality Pvt Ltd. and Rachel Goenka, NRAI Mumbai Chapter Head; Founder & CEO of The Chocolate Spoon Company was an exclusive and first-of-its kind event by the industry and for the industry. 

The convention commenced with a lamp lighting ceremony and address by Pritee Chaudhary, IRS – Regional Director of FSSAI, West Region followed by a welcome address by Kabir Suri, NRAI President and Director of Azure Hospitality. The opening keynote address by Kallol Banerjee, Co-Founder of Rebel Foods showcased the importance of incorporating cloud kitchens into the Indian Restaurant Industry with the example of Faasos’ journey to achieving success.

The first panel moderated by Anurag Katriar, Founder & MD of Indigo Hospitality spoke about ‘Creating a profitable Cloud Kitchen Business’ with insights from Anshul Gupta, Co-Founder of Box8; Kabir Bose, Co-Founder & CEO of Burgernama and Bansi Kotecha, Founder of Kytchens highlighting the importance of product differentiation in securing customer loyalty. 

Anurag Mehrotra, Co-Founder & CEO, Charcoal Eats and Raymond Andrews, Founder of Biryani Blues, delved deeper into Single Cuisine vs Horizontal play in Cuisines and Mohit Gupta, Co-Founder of Zomato commented on aggregators and the question of them being a boon or bane for Cloud Kitchen businesses among more. 

Discussed in the second panel with Sagar Daryani, NRAI Vice President and CEO-Co-Founder of Wow! Momo Foods as the moderator was the ‘Roadmap to Raise Money and Scale the Business’. While the investors, Rochelle Dsouze, MD of Lighthouse Funds; Ashvin Chadha, Co-Founder of Anicut Capital, Angel Investor, Hari Balasubramanian and Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner of IvyCap Venture Advisors, elaborated on the perception of cloud kitchens, evaluation criteria, red flags, and more within the investor community. The investees, Raghav Joshi, Co-Founder of Rebel Foods and Vishal Jindal, Founder & Co-CEO of Biryani BY Kilo spoke about what makes an ideal investor and their learnings so far.

On the third panel was the ‘Role of Technology in Cloud Kitchen Efficiency’. Moderated by Rahul Singh, CEO & Founder of The Beer Cafe, the discussion focussed around the future roadmap of technology and food interplay. The operators such as Mr. Raghav Verma, Co-Founder of Chaayos , Mr. Vedant Pasari, Founder of Edabba and Mr. Abhimanyu Maheshwari, Founder & CEO of Zing Restaurants, debated on technology being a support system or lead, its role in generating higher revenue, margins, expansions and overall user-experience based processes. The tech company representatives, Mr. Eshwar K Vikar, Co-Founder & CEO of Mukunda Foods, Mr. Shaival Desai, VP, Growth of PetPooja and Mr. Dhruv Dewan, Co-Founder of Thrive Now, discussed the areas where technology plays an important role, measurable impact of automating processes and the 5 year plan for kitchens.

Panel 4 on ‘Winning Strategies and Possible Pitfalls’, moderated by Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd was an interesting conversation between panellists Gaurav Gite, Founder & Director of Marrakesh Hospitality Pvt Ltd; Zorawar Kalra, Founder & Managing Director of Massive Restaurants Pvt Ltd; Tarak Bhattacharya, Executive Director of Mad Over Donuts; Jasper Reid, Founder of International Market Management; Rashmi Daga, CEO of Freshmenu and Ajay Mariwala, MD of Food Service India. They shared insights into what makes a cloud kitchen business tick, and at times fail including the learnings, stumbles, anecdotes and all.

The final panel on ‘Cloud Kitchen Marketing – How to stand out amongst the crowd?’ was moderated by Gauri Devidayal, Co-Founder & Director of Food Matters India with the panellists sharing their experience. Murali Krishnan, Co-Founder & CMO of Wow! Momo Foods Pvt Ltd spoke about the role of branding and FMCG style marketing strategies, Dheeraj Gupta, Founder & MD of Jumboking on creating top of mind recall and the importance of a physical presence, Swapnil Bajpai, AVP of Sales for Swiggy on digital marketing strategies that work well for Swiggy partners, Shailee Chatrath Tyagi, Director of Organised Trade Channels for Pepsico India Beverages on partnering with cloud kitchens in marketing and brand building and Rahul Khanna, Director of Azure Hospitality and Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar on the importance of word of mouth marketing and difference in marketing strategies – Restaurants vs Cloud Kitchens.

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