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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!


What’s cooking in the restaurant sector?



One doesn’t need a report to understand how fast the restaurant sector is growing in our country, but when Samir Kuckreja author of the National Restaurant Authority of India’s chunky India Food Services Report 2019, says the industry’s market size (Rs 1,48,000 crore) is 3.5 times bigger than film, television and hotels put together, you begin to smell the espresso.

And when you hear that this is just the market size of the organised sector, for the sector’s massive unorganised under-belly (from highway dhabas to street vendors) is estimated to be worth another Rs 2,75,000 crore, you can understand why NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant wants states to be ranked according to how much ease of business they ensure for the restaurant operators.

The sector means serious business, employment for 7.3 million people (9.2 million in 2022-23) and tax contributions adding up to Rs 18,000 crore (it can only go up when more of the restaurant sector gets organised. Six points struck me while going through the report and these need to be underlined.

  • Affordable casual dining (average per person spend: Rs 350 to Rs 700) is the biggest segment (Rs 60,255crore) in the restaurant sector, followed by quick service (fast food) outlets.
  • Indians are eating out much more today — 6.6 times — than in the past, and spend on average Rs 2,500 per month. Still, the average is significantly behind that of China (60), Bangkok (45) and Singapore.
  • ‘Dining Out’ is still the most important market segment (75 per cent) but takeaway (14 per cent) and home delivery (11 percent) are growing steadily. This is driving the business of aggregators and getting them funding. At the report’s launch, Kabir Advani of Berco’s stated that his home deliveries have gone up from 5 percent of total sales to 30 percent in four years.
  • Bonding with the family remains the most important reason why Indians dine out. And most of the dining out happens at dinnertime. Breakfast and late nights have a very limited appeal.
  • The cuisine choices of diners have remained the same in the nine years since the first report came out. It is North Indian (41 percent) followed by Chinese (27 percent) , South Indian (23 percent) and Italian (mainly pastas and pizzas — 16 percent) .
  • Contrary to the popular view, North (83 percent) and West India (71 percent) are dominantly vegetarian, whereas South India is the non-vegetarian bastion (70 percent) , followed the East (57 percent) .

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