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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!


We’ll strengthen NRAI from the ground up: Amlani


India’s foodservice is one of the hottest sectors today, bringing with it a radical, generational shift in the business. Leading the NRAI in these ‘enthralling times’ is Riyaaz Amlani, widely acknowledged as among India’s most innovative restaurateurs. Here’s his plan for his presidency.

1. How has the sector performed in 2014-15?

With NRAI winning the hookah case in the Supreme Court, the year ended on a remarkable note for us. It was a good year, with several new entrants in the QSR segment, Indian consumers trying new cuisines and restaurants ‘glocalizing’ their menus, offerings and products to suit the Indian palate. However, governmental uncertainties and a sluggish economy remain as challenges.

2. What is your outlook for the sector this year?

These are the most enthralling times the Indian restaurant sector is experiencing. However, with the new government coming in last year, we were hoping for relief from multiple tax burdens. Increase in Service Tax, along with other factors impede growth potential of this otherwise promising sector.

On the membership front, to support restaurant professionals, NRAI is in the initial stages of carving out a new membership category to be called ‘Professional Membership Programme’, wherein professionals associated with the restaurant industry would be eligible to join NRAI and extract benefits by connecting with the industry leaders.


3. What are the challenges & growth areas?

There are many factors that pose as a strong challenge to the food/restaurant service industry. For starters, there are economic factors like rising food costs, market fragmentation and increasing competition that come in to play. The operational level involves a different set of issues like inefficiency in sourcing quality manpower, dealing with high real estate prices, concerns regarding liquor sourcing etc. Also, keeping abreast with the unpredictable and diverse consumer demands can get intimidating.

“These are the most enthralling times the Indian restaurant sector is experiencing.”

Currently, the restaurant industry is a key segment of the Indian economy that is having a multiplier effect on the economic system. We are the third highest segment in the service industry, after retail and insurance. Therefore, for sustained growth, it is important for the government to recognize the increasing contribution of the hospitality sectors and give us an ‘infrastructure’ status. We are also the only industry to be burdened with all tax components – VAT, Service Tax and Excise.

Also, the laws that govern us are hyper local, most done at municipal levels, which is bewildering to new players entering India. Fees and regulations vary a lot, and we are currently governed by archaic laws, most of which were framed prior to 1952. We need these to be reviewed to match the current consumer needs.

4. As president, what’s your focus & goals for your tenure?

I want to strengthen the hospitality industry from the ground up. My vision is to earn an ‘Infrastructure’ status for the restaurant sector in India. The plan is to advocate certain changes in the laws governing our industry at the local, state and central levels. The need for a unified tax system is paramount. We will be lobbying hard for timely implementation of GST. As we need 35 different NOCs, clearances and licenses from various government bodies, getting a single window clearance is number one on the list.

Beyond this, my aim is to make NRAI more approachable, cater to the interests of the standalone restaurants and also provide advocacy, training, research as well as access to industry events at the grass root level. The focus will remain on providing mentorship and opportunities to educate our members and play a key role in promoting growth opportunities for industry professionals, by engaging with leading institutes.

As an association, our target is an ambitious number of 5000 members. We are aiming at acquiring more restaurants, stand-alone chains and even start-ups under our umbrella. We have plans to include more stand-alone restaurants from Tier II and III cities and also bring in the small, unorganized foodservice providers who could really use our help.

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