The Fast Food & Cafe Convention 2017 saw massive participation and support from the Industry. Read all about it.

Fast Food & Café Convention, India’s only event that brings together the QSR, Fast Casual & Café community took place on the 29th of November 2017 at The Lalit in New Delhi. This event was conceptualized in a bid to identify the changing dynamics of the fast food industry in India, as it responds to the discerning consumers and their ever-evolving tastes. In the last two decades, since the first Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) entered India, the industry has seen a constant growth and a momentum that has given operators the leverage and confidence of a promising future.

The event provided an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs and people who are zealous about the fast food and café industry. It saw over 200 delegates, over 120 brands and 30 speakers discussing about the future of the QSR industry and its promising growth. The convention brought together leaders of the food industry, successful restaurateurs and renowned chefs, who shared ideas, thoughts and inspiration.

Samir Kuckreja, Founder & CEO Tasanaya Hospitality the Event Chairman covered some interesting trends in his keynote presentation.  This included some key data on the size and composition of the industry; key growth drivers and emerging trends in the industry.  He also spoke about the increased interest in the F&B industry from a variety of investors.

Kapil Malhotra, Managing Director – Total Solutions Group moderated the leaders’ panel “ Recipe for Success” with industry stalwarts like Tarun Bhasin, President & CBO – Dunkin’ Donuts, Varun Chaudhary, Executive Director – CG Corp Global, Manish Tandon, CEO – Bowlopedia Restaurants, Sohrab Sitaram, CEO & Director – Keventers, Kabir Jeet Singh,  Founder – Burger Singh & Himanshu Mehta, CFO – KFC India. This panel discussed the new dynamics of the Industry, Think Global – Yet Act Local, how important is the ‘Fast’ in ‘Fast Food’ and what is the ‘new’ fast food recipe for success.

The discussion on ‘Menu Magic – getting it right’ was led by Vineet Manocha, VP Culinary – Lite Bite Foods. The group debated on whether cut paste standard menus work across all demographics? What takes precedence – consistency/standardization, taste, freshness, trends – hyper specialities, health vs. perceived health.

“Online Food Ordering” moderated by Subhendu Roy, Partner – At Kearney discussed key issues on new business models that are emerging and how established businesses need to adapt to stay with the times.

Apoorva Bagchi, Head of Marketing– Keventers channelized the discussion on “The Millennial Management Challenge”, in which the key topics covered were: How to recruit and retain the next cohort of leaders: Millennials, Can leadership be taught to the millennials? Don’t they know it all? Are Millennials accountable for their work?

“This event offered a brilliant chance for QSR players to understand and map the changing dynamic landscape of consumer trends from what’s new and hot to what’s on the way out. We also hope the event will help boost innovation within the industry,” shared Mini Jacob, Co-founder of Oddbox, the organizer of the event.

Differentiating itself from the standard conferences, the Fast Food and Café Convention aims to be the defining platform for the QSR & Café Sector in India. The organisers announced that plans are already underway for the launch of “Fast Food & Café Convention – Bengaluru scheduled for the 10th of May 2018” and “Fast Food & Café Convention – New Delhi, November 2018”

Participants of the show found the event to be extremely relevant and a show that is a must attend for key players, upcoming brands and entrepreneurs.

Great event that had sharing of unique insights by industry leaders and opportunity for quality interactions between industry leaders” said Samir Kuckreja, Founder & CEO Tasanaya Hospitality

Congrats to the team for a successful event. It was a great platform to connect with leaders in the industry. Thank you for making me a part of it”, Tarun Bhasin President & CBO Dunkin’ Donuts

It was a pleasure being there. The convention had interesting discussions and potential of some good partnerships” said Himanshu Mehta CFO KFC India

 

About the Organizer: Oddbox

We are a creative Events and Marketing firm founded in 2012. Originally Insignis now Oddbox. We have conceptualized, executed and marketed multiple high quality, innovative & dynamic events. In addition to events – we specialize in creating cutting edge marketing collateral and executing successful brand strategy and product launches.

Coates Group discusses how they offer a game-changing customer experience to the Indian QSR & Cafe industry.

How long have you been in the Indian market and what are the plans you have for this market? 

Coates Group has been present in India for over 3 years now. We currently have Kiosk manufacturing and assembly units within the market and we seek to further invest in local manufacturing within India. We aim to provide unrivalled service and product offerings within the local market and create game-changing customer experience. By the near future, we plan to have a world class innovation centre in India.

     

I understand that you have data driven merchandising platforms. Could you explain how you apply data and how you distinguish yourself from other digital signage companies?

Our in-house built content management system, Switchboard, uses real time data and rich analytics to strengthen individual connectionsIt differs from others within the industry due to its ability to seamlessly integrate with POS, CRM, Beacons and wi-fi. Users will be able to easily utilise and control multiple platforms which can show dynamic content driven by data and analytics.

 

How do you think your digital platform can help the Indian QSR market?

With more than 50 years of experience, Coates promises an unrivalled execution of engaging, personalised experience for every customer. From design, engineering and manufacture, through installation and support, we are with our customer at every step of the way. Through the use of the Coates digital platforms, Indian QSR’s will see improved the customer buying experience, automated upsell processes, as well as increased efficiency in store operations. We pride ourselves on constantly challenging the industry norm to redefine how businesses connect with their consumers.

 Coates Group is present across different markets internationally, with similar products and service delivery. Have you had to customize to cater to cultural differences? How much of customization do you foresee in the Indian context?

Although there are companies that provide clients with hardware or software, there are only a few that provide the entire end-to-end digital merchandising solution. Our CMS, Switchboard, and our hardware offerings seamlessly integrate with any existing hardware and software respectively, to provide the right product, to the right customer, at the right time.

 What are you most looking forward to with regards to participating at the ‘Fast Food & Café Convention’?

We look forward to meeting the leaders of the Indian QSR industry and showcase our innovations. We are also aiming to discover business opportunities for us from the event.

Sanjay Agarwal – Founder @ Salad Chef shares his thoughts about the QSR industry!

What, according to you have been the most positive changes adopted by the industry?

As per my knowledge fast food industry is changing towards healthier food from junk & fried food. My company has taken this step long before it was thought towards healthier food in 1993. We knew this is going to change one day and the day has come people are now wants to eat healthier & transparent food options. Now days more and more options of healthy food is coming up but it is debatable how healthier they are serving.

How do you think the digital influence is impacting the industry and how will it change the way business is done in the coming years?

I agree Digitization is influencing café & QSR business too. People there more time on internet and internet has become the tool to search anything and everything including food. Selling through own website or thought Aggregator added an effective component to the business. Through digitization not only you can sell in a better way through better reach & presence to your target clients but can manage your business in a better way though software which help you to know your food cost , sales pattern , customer feedback and many more thing .as well it help you to  manage your inventory & ordering.

Before the internet the kingmakers in any industry were the distributors and now with tool of internet aggregator/websites/social media became the most high-tech distributor/marketing option & tool.

In the coming years this will change whole face of the fast food, café & restaurant   Industry and & I think more unbelievable options will take your dining out experience to the sky. Digitization will make many more changes the food delivery segment too.

Does food innovation have a role to play in the QSR & Café industry? What are your views on how it can change the age-old concept of what this industry stands for?

Innovation & marketing is the key tool for growth of any business and that applies to fast food and café industry too.

As a chef the experimenting with food and Innovating offering new healthy Dishes to your client is fun. But we need to take feedback from client & rectify them as per the common feedback. In a QSR format it’s difficult to do this but you can very well introduce Dish of the day/week etc and keep taking feedback and then finally introduce to the Menu.

Everyone including us can’t eat same food every day then How come you can double your loyal regulars without giving them option to choose from and innovative food & packaging.

Regional & cultural diversity in India – how big an impact does it have on the success of a QSR?

India is big and diversified  country eating habits and preferences are different at difference locations but globalization has a big impact on it  lot of foreign and Indian QSR  chains are serving all over India  but some regional  & local chain which made big impact in particular state did not succeed in another. Fillay saying we should be are aware of regional preferences while making a menu.

Vishal Jindal – Co Founder @ Biryani By Kilo talks about the QSR & Cafe Industry.

What, according to you have been the most positive changes adopted by the industry?

Delivery & Better Service should be the most profound change adopted by Food Services Industry. With increasing road traffic and hectic urban lives, most customers want best quality food at their doorstep.

How do you think the digital influence is impacting the industry and how will it change the way business is done in the coming years?

Most customer acquisition, engagement and retention is happening through digital channels like Google, Facebook, Instagram, emailers today. Companies who are able to do data analysis & Digital Channel management better will thrive.

Does food innovation have a role to play in the QSR & Café industry? What are your views on how it can change the age-old concept of what this industry stands for?

Food innovation is very important. But also authentic age old recipes have a great pull & market today. New Food categories & innovations take time to find customers but create the WOW & excitement. Fusion Food has done well in last few years. Also there is a craving to go back to familiar Foods & Old Recipes.

Regional & cultural diversity in India – how big an impact does it have on the success of a QSR?

India is many countries in one country when it comes to taste & diversity. Basic theme & ethos for Restaurants have to stay same but regional taste & preferences have to be taken in consideration

Sohrab Sitaram – CEO , Director & Co Founder @ Keventers sheds light on on the most positive changes adopted in the Industry, Digital Influence and more exclusively with the Fast Food Convention team.

What, according to you have been the most positive changes adopted by the industry?

In the recent past, the restaurant/QSR industry has witnessed rapid expansion and a lot of this was not very prudently planned due to which a lot of outlets and stores have been recalled/shut this year. This correction is a very positive step because now I see many brands mapping locations, areas and their audience before making any additions to their store count.

Additionally, the market has also evolved and become mature where newer, smaller, first-time players have entered the market and are in fact giving stiff competition to the bigger organized players. These new entrants have studied customer preferences, gauged the pulse of the market and created newer/unique experiences which have instantly appealed to the modern Indian customer thus widening the scope of the F&B market altogether.

These are just some positive changes that according to me, the industry has witnessed in the recent time but considering the evolutionary and innovative nature of the sector, I am confident that there is much more in store for the future.

How do you think the digital influence is impacting the industry and how will it change the way business is done in the coming years?

 In an era of the distracted consumer, digital has changed the way we live in today’s world and even more so for the restaurant industry. Social media platforms have now become a great way to connect with your target audience. For QSR’s, the youth constitutes a large chunk of their customer base and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram offer a great avenue to engage with your customer and address their concerns in real time.

Besides that, with information accessible literally at the touch of a button it has become much easier to keep track of the market and the competition. Digitization and technological transformation has also aided in better decision making and increased the pace of doing business.

Digital has also changed the way brand’s allocate their marketing and ad spend, and most are investing in creating quick and functional digital channels which are constantly connected with the end consumer. In the coming future also, I feel that the allocation of this spend towards digital is likely to increase. Additionally, digital has also created a space for brands to display their backend processes and quality protocols to ensure greater customer awareness. Going by this trend, I foresee a rise in direct customer engagement in the future as well.

Does food innovation have a role to play in the QSR & Café industry? What are your views on how it can change the age-old concept of what this industry stands for?

 In my opinion, innovation in food is an important facet of the restaurant/QSR industry but out of the box food items should be introduced keeping in mind the traditional eating habits and cultural influences of the customer. For any QSR that is looking to scale its operations, having an overtly innovative menu might not be the best way to go since this might lower one’s target audience. Having a product/range of products that have been curated in sync with the Indian customer, his/her preferences and cultural influences will help create a niche audience for your restaurant/QSR thus creating a business that is viable, profitable and scalable.

Additionally, for any brand to create a mark amongst its target audience, creating a unique experience for its customer is of key importance. For any QSR, creating unique experiences and building a good rapport with your customer is a difficult task within itself, since the time for customer engagement is minimal. By doing this, you will also build a great emotional relationship with the customer which will stay behind thus creating better recall for your brand.

Regional & cultural diversity in India – how big an impact does it have on the success of a QSR?

 While planning for a new restaurant/QSR chain, it’s important to keep in mind the regional, cultural and ethnic diversity of our country. Regions across India have different and unique tastes and preferences that hold great importance while planning a restaurant’s menu. If we were to take the example of Keventers itself, flavours like Strawberry, Butterscotch and Cold Coffee have an ardent fan following in the northern states while south India prefers to experiment more with their shakes by opting for chocolate oreo, mint chocolate oreo etc. Hence its most prudent for any new QSR/restaurant to keep India’s diversity in mind before planning to open any new restaurant.

 

In an exclusive interview with the Fast Food Convention Team, Ajay Khanna – CEO Food Courts @ Kwal’s Hospitality shares his thoughts on some pressing topics.

What, according to you have been the most positive changes adopted by the industry?

The Indian QSR story started with in 1977 with Nirula’s, from where it took 19 years for the next big step! In 1996, both Dominos and McDonalds opened their first Indian outlets. And since then there has been a projectile level growth in this segment. Today India is marked by the presence of nearly a 100 brands, with around 3000 outlets spread across India.

In 2016 the café business alone had a turnover of 5370 crores – which was 22% growth as compared to 2013. In the same period, the QSR business grew by 49% from Rs.6240 crore to Rs. 9270 crores. The

Indian QSR market is projected to scale to 4.1 billion dollars by 2020.

Apart from the political and economic factors, this phenomenal growth was due to adoption of all or some of the following:

  1. SMART Infrastructure Design with creative Interiors
  2. Strong focus on hygiene and food safety.
  3. Adoption of a streamlined and modern (temperature controlled) supply chain system
  4. Standardised products using automatic and sophisticated equipment
  5. Extensive use of digitisation for billing, inventory, marketing and CRM.
  6. Innovative marketing

How do you think the digital influence is impacting the industry and how will it change the way business is done in the coming years?

The digital revolution is sweeping the entire world and the Café and QSR business is no exception.  Inspite of food being very much a brick and mortar business, digitisation has helped to attach a strong virtual element to it.  Some of the high impact areas affected by digitisation:

  1. The entire internal inventory management process works on an e platform.

Ordering, receiving, menu engineering, food cost etc.

  1. Customer feedback has been totally digitised. The billing and customer data is now on a cloud – standalone restaurant based servers belong to dinosaurs!
  2. Marketing spend has got hugely skewed towards social media – facebook, Instagram, twitter, snapchat, google ad words, SCO etc. A large part of the marketing budget is now allocated to the digital medium.
  3. Customer interaction is shifting more and more to ecommerce platforms with instant rewards, instant gratification, loyalty programs to ensure higher customer retention

Outlets which are not “digitised” are desperately trying to catch up and this has given birth to a whole new service sector which fulfils this need.

What does the future hold?

In the future, digitisation will increase adoption of AI chatbots, digital dine in ordering, digitally locating customers and flashing notifications to them based on their ordering patterns.  The “person” on the other end will be able to predict your most popular orders!

Marketing spends will move totally to digital channels which will be able to create ads exclusively for defined customer sets.

Outlets will migrate to software programs which will automatically calculate the inventory in hand, predict the sales patterns for the future and directly order the production from a base kitchen without any human intervention.

Does food innovation have a role to play in the QSR & Café industry? What are your views on how it can change the age-old concept of what this industry stands for?

In the famous words of Peter Drucker – Business finally is only about two things – Innovation and Marketing.  Having said that – let me elaborate that yes innovation is the key to success in the future as more and more “similar” outlets open.  In fact Innovation is the ONLY way forward – food can no longer be sold only on the concept that it is tasty.  Being tasty is a hygiene factor! One should not enter the food business if one cannot produce tasty food!

Innovation means creating the hype or “halo” around your product.  Nitrogen flushed ice creams, ribbed glasses to hold hot beverages, indian toppings on pizzas, continental stuffing in samosas – the list is endless.  In the QSR segment the innovation play is between the product and the packaging more than the outlet design.

Innovation is the only thing which will change the fundamental fact that is a customer coming to you because he is “hungry” or because he wants to!  Innovation will ensure that the humble QSR outlet becomes a destination rather than a base need fulfilling location.  It will drive higher revenues per ticket, it will increase the frequency of visit which are the two basic building blocks of the business.

A brand which is continuously innovating is the brand which will leave its competitors always gasping for more!

Regional & cultural diversity in India – how big an impact does it have on the success of a QSR?

India is a very large country and there is a huge diversity in its weather patterns, culture, language and habits which drive the food habits of its populace as well.  However with the growing means of communication and transportation – food habits have been turned upside down since people travel a lot more and they also have access to information from all over – inside the country as well as outside.

Fast Food & Café Convention – What to Expect at India’s First and Only QSR & Café Focused Event

The QSR & Café industry in India is all set for the debut of what will be the first ever conference specifically organized for this industry. The Fast Food & Café Convention will be held on the 29th of November 2017, at The Lalit, New Delhi.

There is a changing dynamic in the fast food industry in India, as it responds to the discerning consumer and his tastes. In the two decades since the first QSR entered India, the industry has seen continuous growth and a momentum that has given operators the confidence of a promising future.

This event presents an exciting opportunity for those in the fast food and café industry to converge, share ideas, thoughts and inspiration. The conference will map the landscape of consumer trends, from what’s new and hot, to what’s on the way out. It will explore what needs to be on the radar of operators to best prepare for future success. Here, attendees will get access to unique sessions, leader-speak and roundtables, aimed at addressing the concerns, opportunities and best practices of this growing industry.

Oddbox, a creative Events and Marketing firm founded in 2012, is organizing this event. Originally Insignis – now Oddbox. The company has conceptualised, executed and marketed multiple high quality, innovative & dynamic events. In addition to events – they specialise in creating cutting edge marketing collateral and executing successful brand strategy and product launches.