As Covid-19 surges become a way of life, the Indian hospitality industry is persistently scouting for opportunities to make its business resilient to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. While most hotel chains are ensuring that they offer services for business as well as leisure travelers, the other big trend is creating culinary experiences that is delivered to consumer’s doorstep.

Through the lockdown, most hotel chains delivered to people’s homes food from their favourite restaurants. The next step now is creating exclusive food delivery brands. Radisson Hotels for instance, has recently launched Meetha By Radisson, which offers a collection of Indian sweets. After piloting the concept at its hotel in Delhi, the group has rolled out a standalone Meetha By Radisson store in Mumbai and would be shortly rolling it out in a host of other cities, such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Amritsar, Pune and Guwahati.

“We will renew our focus on F&B concepts. India has so many opportunities to launch brands that can be very successful. We are looking at options to surprise our guests,” says Katerina Giannouka, President (Asia-Pacific), Radisson Hotel Group.

Giannouka says that the group has also been experimenting new food and beverage (F&B) concepts in other countries in Asia-Pacific region, which would also be rolled out in India.

Indian Hotels on the other hand, launched Qmin last year, which is a repertoire of culinary experiences, which commenced with food delivery services and the Qmin app, followed by the first Qmin Shop and Qmin Food Truck in Mumbai. It has recently launched its second Qmin Shop at The Connaught in Delhi. The brand is available across 19 cities, delivering comfort food as well as signature favourites from across 37 hotels. The hotel group has also launched Qmin at its hotels across nine countries.

Holiday resort companies such as Mahindra Holidays are also capitalising on their F&B offerings. With most of its clients being timeshare members who don’t pay for room nights, a large portion of the resort company’s revenues comes from F&B. The company since the past few years has been trying to offer better culinary experiences, but Covid-19 has accelerated it.

“We have realised that in Covid-19 times what people have missed the most is eating out. They could order but the restaurant experience was certainly missing. So, we said, why not focus on food. We also hired a corporate chef with a lot of international experience,” says Kavinder Singh, MD & CEO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts.

The holiday company has launched F&B brands at its resorts, such as Unwind Café (a lounge café), Temptations (a pan-Asian restaurant) and Fins (which serves seafood). It is also creating bespoke food experience for its clients.

“A couple can dine overlooking the Pawna Lake in Lonavala, Kosi river in Corbett or on the beach in Goa. It will be just two of them with a chef in attendance,” explains Singh.

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