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NRAI successfully concluded Cloud Kitchen Convention

Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 16:06 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI)’s Mumbai Chapter held India’s biggest Cloud Kitchen Convention powered by Petpooja yesterday. Established in the year 1982, NRAI is the voice of the Indian Restaurant Industry that has successfully provided opportunities to educate various hospitality chains on the avenues of technology, marketing, operations and more by keeping up with the trends. The Cloud Kitchen Convention, spearheaded by Mr. Pranav Rungta, NRAI Mumbai Chapter Head; Director of Mint Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. and Ms. Rachel Goenka, NRAI Mumbai Chapter Head; Founder & CEO of The Chocolate Spoon Company was an exclusive and first-of-its kind event by the industry, for the industry, where prominent stakeholders from the cloud kitchen space got together and shared extensive information, knowledge and cutting edge insights on the subject.


The convention commenced with a Lamp Lighting ceremony and address by Ms. Pritee Chaudhary, IRS - Regional Director of FSSAI, West Region followed by a welcome address by Mr. Kabir Suri, NRAI President; Director of Azure Hospitality. The opening keynote address by Mr. Kallol Banerjee, Co-Founder of Rebel Foods showcased the importance of incorporating cloud kitchens into the Indian Restaurant Industry with the example of Faasos’s journey to achieving success.


The first panel moderated by Mr. Anurag Katriar, Founder & MD of Indigo Hospitality spoke about ‘Creating a profitable Cloud Kitchen Business’ with insights from Mr. Anshul Gupta, Co-Founder of Box8, Mr. Kabir Bose, Co-Founder & CEO of of Burgernama and Mr. Bansi Kotecha of Founder of Kytchens highlighting the importance of product differentiation in securing customer loyalty, Mr. Anurag Mehrotra, Co-Founder & CEO of Charcoal Eats and Mr. Raymond Andrews, Founder of Biryani Blues delving deeper into Single Cuisine vs Horizontal play in Cuisines and Mr. Mohit Gupta, Co-Founder of Zomato commenting on aggregators and the question of them being a boon or bane for cloud kitchen businesses among more.


Discussed in the second panel with Mr. Sagar Daryani, NRAI Vice President; CEO & Co-Founder of Wow! Momo Foods as the moderator was the ‘Roadmap to Raise Money and Scale the Business’. While the investors, Ms. Rochelle Dsouze, MD of Lighthouse Funds, Mr. Ashvin Chadha, Co-Founder of Anicut Capital, Angel Investor, Mr. Hari Balasubramanian and Mr. Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner of IvyCap Venture Advisors, elaborated on the perception of cloud kitchens, evaluation criteria, red flags, and more within the investor community. The investees, Mr. Raghav Joshi, Co-Founder of Rebel Foods and Mr. Vishal Jindal, Founder & Co-CEO of Biryani BY Kilo spoke about what makes an ideal investor and their learnings so far.


On the third panel was the ‘Role of Technology in Cloud Kitchen Efficiency’. Moderated by Mr. Rahul Singh, CEO & Founder of The Beer Cafe, the discussion focused around the future roadmap of technology and food interplay. The operators such as Mr. Raghav Verma, Co-Founder of Chaayos , Mr. Vedant Pasari, Founder of Edabba and Mr. Abhimanyu Maheshwari, Founder & CEO of Zing Restaurants, debated on technology being a support system or lead, its role in generating higher revenue, margins, expansions and overall user-experience based processes. The tech company representatives, Mr. Eshwar K Vikar, Co-Founder & CEO of Mukunda Foods, Mr. Shaival Desai, VP, Growth of PetPooja and Mr. Dhruv Dewan, Co-Founder of Thrive Now, discussed the areas where technology plays an important role, measurable impact of automating processes and the 5 year plan for kitchens.


Panel 4 on ‘Winning Strategies and Possible Pitfalls’, moderated by Mr. Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. was an interesting conversation between panellists Mr. Gaurav Gite, Founder & Director of Marrakesh Hospitality Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Zorawar Kalra, Founder & Managing Director of Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Tarak Bhattacharya, Executive Director of Mad Over Donuts, Mr. Jasper Reid, Founder of International Market Management, Ms. Rashmi Daga, CEO of Freshmenu and Mr. Ajay Mariwala, MD of Food Service India. They shared insights into what makes a cloud kitchen business tick, and at times fail including the learnings, stumbles, anecdotes and all.


The final panel on ‘Cloud Kitchen Marketing - How to stand out amongst the crowd?’ was moderated by Ms. Gauri Devidayal, Co-Founder & Director of Food Matters India with the panellists each sharing their experience. Mr. Murali Krishnan, Co-Founder & CMO of Wow! Momo Foods Pvt. Ltd. spoke about the role of branding and FMCG style marketing strategies, Mr. Dheeraj Gupta, Founder & MD of Jumboking on creating top of mind recall and the importance of a physical presence, Mr. Swapnil Bajpai, AVP of Sales for Swiggy on digital marketing strategies that work well for Swiggy partners, Ms. Shailee Chatrath Tyagi, Director of Organised Trade Channels for Pepsico India Beverages on partnering with cloud kitchens in marketing and brand building and Mr. Rahul Khanna, Director of Azure Hospitality and Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar on the importance of word of mouth marketing and difference in marketing strategies - Restaurants vs Cloud Kitchens.


This mega convention concluded with a closing ceremony by Mr. Pranav Rungta and Ms. Rachel Goenka, NRAI Mumbai Chapter Heads followed by an evening of networking and cocktails with guests indulging in insightful conversations.


Pranav Rungta & Rachel Goenka, NRAI Mumbai Chapter Heads – “With the paradigm shift in consumer ordering behaviour, cloud kitchens have emerged as a lucrative business model in the industry. The success of this first convention has reinforced our plans to curate conversations like these each year in order to cover all aspects of the F&B sector like the cloud kitchen segment.”


“Building a strong brand with quality, consistency and differentiation is a must in order to reduce the dependence on platforms, to ensure repeat purchase leading to scalability. As a dark kitchen operator you should either be niche and small or broad and very large.” – Ajay Mariwala, Food Service India Pvt. Ltd.


“Cloud kitchens have evolved as a viable business model with the advent of new habit formation & digital acceleration which has been further supported  by the shift in consumer ordering behaviour. It was great to be a key partner in hosting one of the biggest Cloud Kitchen Conventions & discuss what will make them stand out in the crowd. We at PepsiCo India, remain committed to enabling such stature forums to support the exponential growth & learning of the foodservice industry and being a premier beverage partner with them, going forward." – Shailee Chatrath, Director, Organised Trade Channel Sales and Marketing, PepsiCo India Beverages


"With the proliferation of cloud kitchens all over the country, we at Petpooja believe that technology will play a key role in their growth and sustainability. We are really happy that NRAI has provided such an amazing stage for all stakeholders to come together and share their insights." – Parthiv Patel, Co-founder & CEO of Petpooja


“Considering the ongoing changes in the restaurant industry, online food delivery has become the new normal. With customers preferring doorstep food delivery over dine-in facilities, cloud kitchens. Many restaurateurs are now expressing interest in shifting from a traditional dine-in facility to set up a delivery-only business. Detpak is proud to be associated with NRAI to fuel the growth of many fabulous cloud kitchen brands in India with eco-friendly and efficient food packaging products while raising the bar for consumer experience.” – Rushabh Oza, Country Sales Manager, Detpak India Pvt. Ltd.


Dhruv Dewan, COO & Co-Founder of Thrive Now – “It’s no secret that Cloud Kitchens are now the rising force in the F&B industry globally. However, there is a rising need for them to focus on profitability, and for them to have complete and transparent ownership of customer data. Having a platform like Thrive Now helps them do exactly that, while setting up their online ordering solution, taking care of delivery fulfilment along with other major value additions. I’m excited to be a part of stimulating conversations with trailblazers in this space at the Cloud Kitchen Convention organised by the NRAI, and hope to take back a lot of in-depth information and feedback about what the future prospects for Cloud Kitchens looks like. Based on this, we’d like to tailor Thrive’s platform along with our restaurant partners, to reduce their dependence on aggregators.”


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