I am back at Zomato Restaurant Summit 2013, which if I remember correctly, I attended last for 2012 some 8 months ago. Organised this time at Leela Kempinski Gurgaon, it has become a highly awaited event which is not only the official food guide but also includes pondering and discussions on many interesting topics concerning restaurateurs and foodies alike.
I reached a little late and by that time few discussions were over, however I did attend a session by Rahul Kumar, CEO Red Mango on Marketing of new outlets, and Anjan Chatterjee of Speciality Foods known by its flagship brand Mainland China who gave insights on Road to IPO. Zomato is leader in its category and is helping many foodies find out where and what to eat on a daily basis. No doubt it has deep insights of the market and Pankaj Chaddah, COO-Zomato did share some of his thoughts which would be the future and are currently untapped market. Here is what he suggests:
– There is a demand for work-eat and network concept which can be a winner with students, start-ups and for casual business meeting. I agree with him. So far cafes are filling the spot. High rentals in my opinion would be a hindrance but since this is a 24X7 concept, there is a potential.
– Boxed meal concept across cuisine. Unlike buffet which has high wastages, this should be the way forward not only for test marketing but for new players till they build traffic to sustain buffet spreads.
– Live Music-Bars offering live music throughout the week for casual drinking. These are more than just sports bar.
– Burritos: Pankaj makes a point that Mexican meal resembles Indian cuisine the most and these quick service restaurant should do well. However, I have not seen many Mexican restaurants survive so far in the city.
– Turkish Delights: Baklava and other Turkish desserts should be the order of the day for quick meal and it is still an untapped and under researched theme.
– Lastly he ended by suggesting Pakistani restaurants in the city, and I cannot agree more.
Address from Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO of Zomato was a humbling experience. A person, who spoke with so much passion, built a company which has grown internationally across many locations like London, UAE, Sri Lanka among others, and importantly a company who is achieving newer heights every passing years; still he was sharing his contact details with all present to get the pulse of the market. This is an example of a young man who had a dream and was fortunate to turn it into reality with his hard work and passion. Wish these learning remains with me for times to come.
Rocky and Mayur (Highway on my Plate fame) are now the brand ambassador of Zomato. They were at their witty best and held a small foodie quiz for all present. To be candid, I didn’t know most answers myself.
The connoisseur’s guide to eating out was finally launched. Present on the stage were Deepinder Goyal, Pankaj Chaddah, Chef Manish Mehrotra, Rocky, Mayur, Sanjeev Bikhchandani (Angel Investor in Zomato and founder of Naukri.com), Rashmi Uday Singh amongst others. This Zomato Food guide is certainly an improved version of the old guide and features many more worth eating out places which were missed last time. It also mentions Rocky and Mayur favourite eating out places. However rating is still based on average rating given by the users on Zomato, which at times is skewed and does not give a true picture. But to the Zomato credit, they have not given equal weightage to all reviews, and have given more importance to reviews by Super Foodie and Connoisseur. Also, Zomato Food guide gives small snippet of the review of the restaurant by foodies on Zomato. Since a small portion of the review is copied from the complete review on website, it is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. I would have liked a small brief written by Zomato team, or may be by the selected foodies especially for the food guide. A Zomato rating along with user rating will be further appreciated. Would I still recommend you to invest Rs499 for this guide? Yes, I would. It is a handy and informational guide available even when you are offline.
The event ended with a rocking performance from Euphoria (Dr Palash Sen).