March 8th, 2011It’s A Mall World
A silent revolution is sweeping across the Indian restaurant scene. And I’m not sure if all of us – and especially those in the hospitality and catering businesses – are paying it the kind of attention it deserves.
Until recently, we had two kinds of restaurants in India: hotel and stand-alone
. Most stand-alone restaurants did not aspire to the standards of the hotel places and when they did reach those levels, they became widely talked about phenomena: Diva in Delhi, the original China Garden in Bombay and over the last decade, Indigo and Olive all over India.
For many years, the scene remained unchanged except for the arrival of what the trade calls Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and what you and I would call fast food outlets. While the success of McDonald’s altered Indian eating habits, it did not make much difference to the restaurant sector.
The current revolution however, has the potential to completely alter the Indian food scene. For many years – and even today – you required a high level of courage to open a restaurant in an Indian city. Premises were hard to find. Property titles were in dispute. Landlords demanded rent in cash. The Municipal Corporation made your life difficult. Electricity and water were elusive commodities. The local police station asked for monthly hafta. And so on.
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