Thursday, February 6, 2014


A perplexing issue that haunts every Indian who visits or reside in the US is why the Indian food has not penetrated into the country like Mexican or Chinese foods? It is most unfortunate that many Indian restaurants that work in different parts of the US do not project the image of Indian foods adequately with their profile very low. If some catering experts are to be believed, this situation will definitely change in the coming years because Indian foods per se are better tasting with offering of vast varieties unlike limited range of foods offered by other ethnic food groups. Probably with consistent and consolidated efforts Indian foods may out perform others in a matter of a decade from now. Here is a take on this issue that may be a hot topic in the coming years.

"In all the predictions, the big mystery to me is Indian food.  It has the great spiciness of our much loved Mexican food. It has the variety and excitement of our much loved Italian food.  Indians are the third largest immigrant group (after Mexicans and Chinese) in the US and yet, aside from mid- to high-end sit down restaurants, it hasn't made great inroads. According to NPD's CREST®, our continuous foodservice tracker, Indian food is served about 0.1% of all visits to restaurants. How come Indian food isn't the next big thing? Just to get a sense of scale, I looked at CREST Great Britain where we track British consumers' use of restaurants. There, where Indian food has arguably moved to the main stream, (and, as a well understood post-drinking food) Indian food is served at 3% of all restaurant visits.  Sure, it doesn't sound like much but it's an index of about…hang on…carry the one….an index of about 2000 over the US number.  Our Advanced Analytics guys describe this as being "a whole heckuva lot more" than in the US. My neighborhood here at the NPD Foodservice Blog World Headquarters in the San Francisco Bay area is a melting pot of east and south Asians. As a result, we have an embarrassment of first rate Asian restaurants at the mid- to low-range.  Indian restaurants still account for less than 1% of all restaurants in the US."

One often wonders why some of the established hotel chains in the country are not taking a cue from this trend and invest in that country which will definitely pay off eventually. 
The emphasis has to shift from serving these foods to consumers of Indian origin to main stream Americans by suitably adapting the profiles of the products suitably without sacrificing the original features. Americans have proved to be people with open mind as reflected by the popularity of Chinese, Mexican and Italian foods and therefore high quality Indian foods made and served hygienically with ambient environment can also be expected to click in a big way. 


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