Gourmet delivery services on the rise

Sep 02, 2018, 08:41 IST | Arita Sarkar

Fresh pasta with a sprinkling of basil or the Malaysian Seafood Bisque. The number of gourmet delivery services in the city is rising, and we have high rents to thank

Gourmet delivery services on the rise

Restaurant
Pitchfork
Cuisine
Continental, European
Number of staff members
15-16 kitchen staff + three delivery boys
Average orders per day
50-60 orders

Nishit Kumar, a resident of Malad, is the only vegetarian member of his family and they all love experimenting with food. When he's at his office in Santacruz, his colleagues particularly enjoy ordering food from Buddha Bowl, a delivery only outlet in Bandra. "There are new kinds of gourmet restaurants in Bandra and some of them are better with their delivery. Restaurants like Buddha Bowl are driven by chef owners who are passionate about food and it tends to show. The food is cooked and packaged with a great deal of care and attention," he says. Barring the presentation, Kumar who often orders their bowl meals finds the food to be very aromatic and cooked with fresh ingredients unlike food from a typical Udupi-style restaurant.

Pearce Watson prepares salad at Perry Cross Road, Bandra. Pic/Ashish Raje
Pearce Watson prepares salad at Perry Cross Road, Bandra. Pic/Ashish Raje

Over the past year, the food delivery market has seen a jump in the number of gourmet delivery joints that have cropped up across the city. Apart from giving people a whole range of options to choose from, including those which offer periodically changing menus, the delivery-only model allows restaurateurs and chefs to focus on the quality of food rather than shelling out an exorbitant amount on real estate.

Restaurant
Buddha Bowl
Cuisine
Asian
Number of staff members
10 kitchen staff
Average orders per day
40-50 orders

Unlike a conventional restaurant which offers a dine-in option, the management of gourmet delivery outlets are never able to meet their customers which becomes a hurdle while advertising their brand. Barring word of mouth, owners of gourmet takeaway joints heavily rely on digital marketing on social media to attract customers.

Jay Goradia of Buddha Bowl; (right) The Kai Sate chicken bowl. Pic/Ashish Raje
Jay Goradia of Buddha Bowl; The Kai Sate chicken bowl. Pic/Ashish Raje

Blowing your own trumpet
Maintaining visibility in the competitive food industry is a challenge says Jay Goradia, one of the owners of Buddha Bowl which started operations in May 2017 in Bandra. The menu here ranges from Bento Buddha bowls to coconut-panko crusted shrimps with an orange and ginger dip. They will also bring to your doorstep baos made of buckwheat, quinoa or jowar. The food then is the biggest selling point. "If the product is good and the pricing is reasonable, then people recommend the eatery more. But we also have to rely on digital marketing through delivery platforms such as Zomato, with banners. We connect with food bloggers and participate in food festivals," he said.

Restaurant
Sorriso
Gourmet Kitchen
Cuisine
Italian, Mexican, Continental Number of staff members
13 kitchen staff+2 managers
+7 delivery boys
Average orders per day 75-80 orders

But that isn't always enough. Savin Shetty, owner of BKC's Sorriso Gourmet Kitchen, finds spreading the word about their outlet the biggest challenge since even though over time a brand builds on the numbers of loyal customers, many forget. "For a gourmet delivery, you need to keep reminding customers that you're there. It is a continuous process and not a one-time only affair. Among the different kinds of advertising methods that involve the social media, the cheapest is distribution of flyers," says Shetty. Sending text messages is another technique, but it doesn't always give the desired results in commercial areas like BKC.

Savin Shetty, owner of Sorriso, Mulund West. Pic/Sameer Markande
Savin Shetty, owner of Sorriso, Mulund West. Pic/Sameer Markande

Room to experiment
At Pitchfork, Pali Hill's delivery-only joint that lets you design your salad with ingredients like pickled radish and add ons of blue cheese, not having tables and diners has proven to be an advantage. The kitchen puts together a meal-for-two in under 30 minutes and most deliveries are completed within 15-25 minutes in a radius of 3-7 kilometres depending on the platform used to place an order (Swiggy or directly with the restaurant). Not having a sit-down places has only helped them focus on the quality of food and experiment with different cuisines, which helps to build a better relationship with the customers. Fitness entrepreneur and owner of Pitchfork, Zarine Watson, says, "Unlike regular restaurants, we can change the menu every three months and introduce new items. We pay attention to what the clients say which keeps them very happy." In the last one year and three months, baos on the menu were replaced with sliders and dishes like garden salad wraps and quesadillas were added to list of options. Apart from regular customers, Pitchfork has a select number of clients whose meals are tailored to their needs.

Restaurant
Hello Green
Cuisine
Continental, Salads
Number of staff members
15 kitchen staff each in three kitchens
Average orders per day around
150 orders

Nooresha Kably, owner of Sushi Koi in Pali Hill, will agree. "I started Sushi Koi five years ago at home and back then, I knew all the customers. Their requirements were noted and I had all their numbers saved. But now, the delivery app no longer allows us to keep the numbers of our customers. Thus, even though the volume of orders has increased, we miss out on knowing the customers," she says.

Chef Vikram prepares and packs Baked Miso Salmon at Hello Green in Andheri. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Chef Vikram prepares and packs Baked Miso Salmon at Hello Green in Andheri. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

Expanding the clientele base
Despite tying up with the food delivery apps like Zomato, Scootsy and Uber Eats among others, many gourmet takeaway outlet owners have made arrangements of their own, in order to cater to people beyond a limited radius. Sushi Koi, for instance, delivers across Mumbai and even Navi Mumbai, if the customers gives them adequate notice.

Restaurant
Sushi Koi
Cuisine
Japanese
Number of staff members
5-7 kitchen staff
Average orders per day
15-35 orders

Another outlet, Hello Green caters to people who those counting the calories. Apart from the a-la-carte dishes, Hello Green offers subscription plans for its customers like keto, muscle building, detox weight loss plans among others which includes soups with high protein content like the Malaysian Seafood Bisque or a Baked Miso Salmon which is gluten-free. Sunjay Ghai, owner of Hello Green has opened three kitchens in the past one year in Andheri, Powai and Lower Parel and is planning to open three by the end of December. "Our model has always focussed on the idea that people want eat healthy. We want to reach all those customers which is why we have multiple touch points. Apart from our kitchens, our products are also available on the retail shelf at Godrej Nature's Basket," said Ghai.

Sushi Koi restaurant, Pali Mal Road. Pic/Ashish Raje
Sushi Koi restaurant, Pali Mal Road. Pic/Ashish Raje

What delivery platforms say
Food delivery services such as Zomato pointed out that there has been a growing preference towards eating high-quality restaurant food at home. "These gourmet food deliveries are attracting more and more users — especially the well-travelled, upwardly mobile urban Indian population which fancies quality of food over its cost and are always keen to experiment with different international cuisines. Users now are demanding more gourmet options and healthier food options, which many restaurants are willing to cater to," says a spokesperson from Zomato.

Srivats TS, vice-president of marketing at Swiggy, says the number of orders from, gourmet takeway outlets have significantly increased in the last one year. "Swiggy offers popular gourmet brands a platform to connect with existing and new niche customers who prefer the ease of ordering a gourmet meal without having to step out," he adds. Swiggy acquired the on-demand delivery startup Scootsy earlier this month.

Owners of such outlets feel that the delivery-only model allows them to test the market. Since the investment in the kitchen is less — Watson points out that the delivery-only model saves the crippling price of real estate and hiring waiting staff that normal restaurants have to shoulder and bear — if the venture fails, chances of loss is less. Referring to the business model as cost effective, Sandeep Das, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Scootsy, added that the delivery-only business model allows chefs to try something new. "For such outlets, the time to launch is shorter, since there are lesser things to take care of. At Scootsy, we have been instrumental in offering chefs a virtual storefront. Today we have a variety of gourmet products that exist on our platform only," he adds.

Amrita Konwar, who lives in Bandra and often orders in, is particularly drawn to Sushi Koi for the personalised attention they give to their customers and the well-packaged meals. "I had once ordered from Sushi Koi and the chef had messaged to ask for feedback. This kind of personalised experience makes a place very accessible and creates a lot of trust between the restaurant and the customer," she says.

Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and also a complete guide on Mumbai from food to things to do and events across the city here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates

DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

Here's how you can detox post Diwali

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK