By Sourish Bhattacharyya
MAMA MIA, North India is
bye' to Chinese and going 'bhai, bhai'
with Italian. Sounds impossible? You may have thought Indian and Chinese are
the hottest favourites of the North Indian dining market, but 44.8 per cent of
those who order home-delivered meals through Foodpanda.in, a Rocket
Internet-incubated website operating in 40 countries across four continents,
prefer Italian over Chinese, Punjabi and fast food.
|Rohit Chadda, Co-Founder and Managing Director,|
Foodpanda.in, says the survey results reflect the
cosmopolitan food choices of the website's
youth market-driven demographic
Surprisingly, though, Chinese has a 27.6 per cent following, but Punjabi has slipped to as low as 6.2 per cent. The survey report doesn't give the percentage for fast food, but if you do the math, it ranks a healthy third with 21.4 per cent.
That seems highly likely in the light of the fact that Nirula's is the restaurant franchise that ranks third in popularity among Foodpanda.in users after Pizza Hut (whose thin crust and cheesy pizzas top the list of favourites) and Yo! China, a chain of popular Chinese restaurants with a strong takeaway business promoted by Ashish Kapur, Ajay Saini and Joydeep Singh.
Finding the survey results a bit hard to stomach, for they flew in the face of conventional wisdom, I called up Rohit Chadda, the young co-founder and managing director of Foodpanda.in. He was quick to point that 60 per cent of 50,000-60,000 unique visitors that the website belong to the 25-35 age group, and an equal percentage of them are from Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. He did not divulge the actual number of orders placed by these visitors to the website.
"Our survey results reflect the cosmopolitan nature of the taste buds of our demographic, which is essentially the youth market in the three big metros," Chadda said. Pizzas are most popular, he added, because they are "faster to deliver and easier to eat". Yo! China's Yo Boxes are also "very popular" because they are "very affordable" and offer "very good quality". The Foodpanda.in demographic clearly seeks out both affordability and quality.
With a sizeable segment of urban India, especially the young, living away from home, the takeaway and home delivery market is booming. Chadda said that whereas organised food retail grew by 20-25 per cent in 2012, the takeaway and home delivery segment rose by 40 per cent. He estimated that the segment has grown to become a Rs 1,000-crore business nationally and is poised to expand to up to Rs 6,000 crore by 2017.
"The takeaway and home delivery model offers convenience to customers because the food comes cheaper and 5-6 per cent higher margins to restaurant chains because of the reduced overhead costs," Chadda said. Unsurprisingly, significant players in the industry such as Anjan Chatterjee's Speciality Restaurants (the holding company of Mainland China) and Amit Burman and Rohit Aggarwal-promoted Lite Bite Foods are driving their takeaway and home delivery business. Even an established brand such as Kabir Advani's Berco's is popularising a hybrid growth model -- smaller restaurants with 40-50 covers and a sharp focus on home delivery. For long, we have been accustomed to a 'ghar bhijwa dena' relationship with our friendly neighbourhood kirana store. Restaurants are now getting to hear these familiar words and it's music to their ears.