Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Restaurant sector which serves millions of customers with appetizing and gastronomically stimulating food preparations can be trend setting when it comes to new products development by the processed food industry. If the "Ready to Eat" or the "Heat 'n' Eat" versions of ethnic food products with long shelf life, are flooding the market, some credit is due to the catering industry which made these products popular amongst the consumers. Whether it is the 5-star category hotels or the Dabhas or the Udupi restaurants or the road side vendors, innovation has been the hall mark of this sector. The explosive growth of Western foods through American fast food outlets or the pioneering desi Coffee Shops prove the point that good foods will continue to attract customers. Here is an example of an innovation in catering reported from Spain which may have some relevance in India also.

"The five pavilions at Les Cols, which Ms. Puigdevall opened in 2005 on the grounds of her family's ancestral home, are among a number of so-called gastrohotels that have been popping up like porcini mushrooms alongside some of Spain's most acclaimed restaurants. Some are opened by the chefs themselves, others with (mostly) silent partners who allow the chefs — and their restaurants — to take center stage".

With tourism sector registering double digit growth in India, there is excellent potential for developing "rural tourism" and if adequate attention is given to sanitation and hygiene and creating some ambiance, sky is the limit for the growth of this sector. Look at the way Kerala was able to leap frog into international tourism circuit through its "God's Own Country" branding largely based on house boats in the back waters of the state. If Kumarakam Resort in Kerala attracts VIPs in droves, the reason is its rural setting and ambiance. Similarly the "Homestay" concept becoming popular now can be further refined to attract domestic as well as international tourists. India can take a leaf out of Spain's innovative experience by introducing "Gastrohotels" in different regions which have lot of culture and history to share.


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