Consumer needs are changing along with the various parameters that go beyond the demographic profile. While the annual average spending of middle class households in India’sTier-I cities has increased by over 35 per cent on fast food restaurants in the last two years, those in Tier-II & III cities are also spending much higher on fast food restaurants. Today, more than 65 per cent of the Indian population is aged less than 30 years and exposed to international brands.
One sector that has managed to reap the dividends of this teeming demographic bulge is the foodservice industry, particularly in the QSR segment. There is an increase in the demand for QSRs, pubs and cafes as people are seeking convenience in varied formats. At the same time, the trend amongst diners to opt for cuisines that mirror their lifestyle is fast catching up. Preference for ingredients like truffles, artichokes, asparagus, Australian lamb, Norwegian salmon, black bean sauce, microgreens, organic food, etc., have found their way to Indian F&B counters. The blending of cuisines, like Italian with Thai, is another evolved customer choice and even casual dining players are offering Chinese, authentic Italian, fine French, American, Lebanese cuisine, etc., which were once considered specialty and fine-dining dishes.
To keep up with the trends, the restaurant industry is pulling out all the stops to make food more innovative and interesting. Customers are being wooed with “street food” options served in a hygienic setting and good ambience. All of this is par for the course but to keep pace with the growing demand and drive growth, the industry will have to look beyond the metros and Tier I cities to a number of Tier II and III cities, which may offer better growth prospects for players across sectors.