Fortune Cookie

Five-star food delivery in the ‘new normal’

When an industry leader of the stature of Taj Hotels enters the fray with its own home-delivery menu, it means there must be a strong business case for this emerging vertical.

 |  Fortune Cookie  |  2-minute read |   12-07-2020
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Over the weeks I have been writing about the big positive outcome of the lockdown for the restaurant business – namely, the rise of home deliveries as a vibrant business vertical – and lauding the efforts of independent cloud kitchen operators such as Arjun Abby and Kula Naidu (Sushi Haus / Asian Haus), Varun and Prathna Tuli (Noshi Yum Asian Delivery), and Sahil Hassan and Aashiqa Khanna (Sassy Begum). And then Hyatt Regency New Delhi, followed by The Park, entered the scene and broke the ice for five-star hotels, for whom the thought of delivering food at home was a no-no.

But when an industry leader of the stature of Taj Hotels (officially known by the acronym IHCL) enters the fray with its own home-delivery menu, a dedicated call centre and delivery team, and an app being developed by Tata Digital, and expected to be unveiled on July 25 in Mumbai, it means there must be a strong business case for this emerging vertical.

IHCL’s CEO and Managing Director, Puneet Chhatwal, flagged off the concept on June 25 in Mumbai, where orders are now taken by an in-house call centre and delivered at home by a dedicated team comprising motorcyclists from Blow Horn. Delhi will follow with the offline model on July 17. The app is most likely to become operational in Mumbai on July 25 and the Qmin Shop, a gourmet food products store, in August. Delhi will go online a month later – and then the home delivery business will be rolled out to the other metro cities.

Explaining Taj’s foray into the home delivery business, which five-star hotels would shun in the past, Gaurav Pokhriyal, IHCL’s Senior Vice-President, Operations-North, said, “The unprecedented pandemic has not come with an expiry date, so we have to learn to live with the ‘New Normal’. All of us have to realign our business objectives according to the ‘New Normal’.” He added that though IHCL is only looking at the metro cities and Bengaluru at the moment, “if the business permits it, we will expand to Tier-II and Tier-III cities”. Hyatt Regency New Delhi has seen a surge in orders ever since its home deliveries went online. “Our online ordering platform, https://athome.cathdiningdelhi.c om/, has clocked more than 550 orders since June 8 and broken even within its first month,” said Parinita Samanta, Director, Marketing Communications, Hyatt Regency Delhi. Like the Taj Group, the Hyatt has tied up exclusively with the delivery service, FoodCloud, to reach 85 per cent of its orders to their destinations. Now, with The Oberoi and ITC Hotels joining the bandwagon, it will be a business case study to see how these hotels deliver the fine dining experience to people’s homes.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also read: How hospitality has changed in the new-normal era

Writer

Sourish Bhattacharyya Sourish Bhattacharyya @sourishb1963

The writer is a columnist for Mail Today, blogger at Indian Restaurant Spy and a founder member of the Delhi Gourmet Club.

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