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“We provide technologically comparable and environment-friendly products and solutions”

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 16:45 Hrs  [IST]

According to Srikant Subramanian, General Manager- Marketing (Commercial Refrigeration Division), Blue Star Limited, India is at a cusp of change when it comes to the HoReCa sector and is witnessing increasing globalisation through the entry of new players and innovative technologies like Connected Commercial Kitchens. In an interaction with Hospitality Biz, Srikant shares his expert insights about Advanced Technology adopted by Blue Star for the Hospitality Industry.

Q How do you understand the refrigeration demands of the hospitality industry including food retailers, hotels, restaurants, etc., and how you are better equipped to serve the requirement of this segment?
We work closely with the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) for most of their refrigeration needs. We also actively work with the large kitchen consultants as well as restaurant chains. We cater to the requirements of this industry by sourcing products and solutions from the best global players. By sourcing from global vendors, we ensure that the products we deliver to the market are technologically comparable, food safe, environment friendly, and easily serviceable across the country.

Because of our wide reach and network, we have sold and serviced refrigeration requirements of the HoReCa segment across the length and breadth of the country.

Q What are the recent innovations from Blue Star relevant to the hospitality (HoReCa) market when it comes to commercial refrigerators?
We have introduced eco-friendly refrigerants into the Commercial Kitchen Refrigeration space with the introduction of Reach ins and Undercounter Chillers/Freezers with hydrocarbons. We have also started using eco-friendly refrigerants in our Ice Machines.

We have launched a range of blast freezers which have found good acceptance among customers and consultants.

Q Connected kitchen is a new concept evolving fast in the hotels and restaurants. How your equipment and solutions are designed to work in a ‘connected’ environment?
We are working on getting a connected environment with our freezers. We are aware that in the Commercial Kitchen space, there are cooking units in which the chef can set the recipe and program the unit so that the cooking occurs with almost zero manual intervention. Multiple recipes can be stored in the memory of the units. Connected commercial kitchens automated units are yet to find mass acceptance in the Indian context primarily due to the availability of cheaper manpower.

Q What is the sense of new opportunities that you see in the HoReCa sector in the New Year?
The HoReCa sector is witnessing opportunities with new brands and concepts evolving each day. Concepts such as Cloud Kitchens, and Central Commissaries are gaining acceptance among QSRs.

The QSRs themselves have been rapidly increasing in metro as well as the tier II, III, and IV markets. With the growth of double income families in tier II, III, and IV cities, the spending capacity has also increased and QSR brands are foraying into these smaller towns to cater to the needs of the double income families. The Indian HoReCa sector is also poised to welcome the entry of most global brands.

Food courts are also creating new growth areas in the HoReCa sector across metros, as well as, smaller towns.

Q How much commercial refrigeration sales contribute to Blue Star’s overall portfolio in terms of sales volume, etc.?
In terms of the contribution to the revenue, commercial refrigeration accounted for INR 700 cr out of the total revenue of INR 5,000 cr in FY ’19. We are market leaders in Storage Water Coolers, Freezers, Cold Rooms and major player in Bottled Water Dispensors, Ice Machines and Kitchen Refrigerators.

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