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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!


‘The restaurant industry has no entry barrier … average age of first time restaurateurs is drastically coming down’



Is your industry in the midst of a big change?

Look at home delivery. It is fast growing as a segment in itself. There are outlets that are there just for delivery. Till some time ago, you needed a restaurant to deliver food. Today with tech platforms and aggregator services, you just need a kitchen. 35-40% sale of our brands is through home delivery. Home dining and cloud kitchen are other fields where people enter as there is little investment needed. We want to enable transition of these entrepreneurs to mainstream restaurant business. The business is very fluid and dynamic in nature; the trends change very fast. We want to support up and coming trends and streamline the rules and policies from the beginning. If left unattended, the entire segment becomes a mess and the restaurant body is left with nothing more than firefighting later. We need to put best practices and help formulate best policies for these segments from an early stage.

What was the need for a youth committee at NRAI?

The restaurant industry has no entry barrier. Anyone can open a restaurant. With novel concepts such as home dining, cloud kitchen and home delivery, even the investments have come down. As a result we have observed that the average age of first time restaurateurs is drastically coming down. But it is also an industry that is seeing a huge attrition rate. More and more people are entering and leaving the industry. Our job is to mentor these young and fresh entrepreneurs so that their businesses are sustainable. We would like to train people who are into home dining and cloud kitchens to enter into mainstream restaurant business.

Is high attrition on account of bad concepts dying rather than there being policy issues?

Because there is no entry barrier, we have seen unmatched innovation in restaurant industry over past few years. Some of the best pan-India concepts have been introduced by young professionals such as Riyaaz Amlani, Rahul Singh, Anurag Katriar and Priyank Sukhija who had no restaurant industry background. They brought in a refreshing change to the dining scene. Using their knowledge, we want to mentor youngsters. They are also among the core committee of NRAI who, using their experience as established restaurateurs of today, negotiate with authorities regularly for policies that aid the growth of this mammoth industry.

What are the major problems that many new restaurateurs face?

There are core issues that many young entrepreneurs underestimate.  One big thing is consistency. Your mother may cook one of the best curries and you open a restaurant for it. But to produce it consistently on an industrial level is a whole different ball game. Second, to turn the idea into a business needs working capital. You need to know the gestation period for the restaurant and clearly assess the time needed to break even. Many start thinking of franchising even before they have opened their first outlet. There are challenges such as permissions and taxation. Then there are operational challenges such as rentals and salaries. All these are part of your business and not separate from it. These underestimations usually result in death of a lot of great ideas. That is where NRAI plans to train youngsters from the time of ideation.

What are the cuisines and concepts that are attracting young restaurateurs?

Youngsters are introducing new cuisines and the market is responding really well to it. Regional Indian cuisine is a big category. Another category that is growing fast is health. Giving a health spin to staple dishes such as ragi pizza is a category in itself. Dessert, milkshakes and snacks are another big trend youngsters want to experiment with.

What is needed to promote India as a prominent food destination?

India is an exciting food and beverage destination. We have not yet taken advantage of it completely. What is needed are geographical food destinations. We have such a big coastline and each beach destination has a unique cuisine of its own. Beach food destinations where you enjoy the food of the area on the beach has not been fully utilised. What we need are inclusive destinations such as food area in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, or beach food zone in Mumbai, serving food of the area round the clock.

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