Restaurant Productivity: Why are we always left behind?

9th August 2013, By

As that know me, would agree that I am a foodie and I love traveling all around the world trying various interesting delights. I was recently there at newly re-opened Pizza Express at Colaba, Mumbai, along with some of my friends over dinner.

One of the trends that has caught on with the hospitality / QSR (quick service restaurants) industry has been that of an open kitchen, your customers want to see how food turns into delights, as far as what I can remember, it was McDonalds that started it in a limited way and then there have been several adopters including Mad Over Donuts, Juice Zone and Starbucks as recent.

A lot of people are fascinated and curious to know what going on behind the kitchen counters and open kitchens help them know more about the kitchen operations and how their food is being prepared. The surprising aspect is that a Pizza Express store at Oxford Street has barely 6 to 8 people in their kitchen whereas the Indian Pizza Express store here at Colaba has more than 25 people.

Now one would wonder that why does an Indian Pizza Express store have more than 3x the people, although by all means the Oxford Street store has a lot more sales. The difference that we essentially see is that, labour in India is cheap, but as they say, you get what you pay for and hence you dont find them to be very conservant or business savvy.

While in India, we also feel that managerial resources find it difficult to accept all types of jobs and are quite class conscious, this is what really impedes growth, as they would deny various types of jobs offered to them, for example, a manager would not be comfortable doing dishes or mopping up, hence as a restaurateur needs to hire several people, although some might be pretty much supervising.

Indian restaurant / F and B industry needs to invest in training, newer brands that may experience success may not prefer to invest in training their power, hence retention is a challenge.

Ofcourse, this is all changing as India goes through one of the worst inflationary times and the cost of living getting eroded by the day, understanding this is one of my favourite and most widespread brands, Cafe Coffee Day.

Cafe Coffee Day is definitely an outlier, apart from the occasional bad experiences one may have, where CCD runs out of water, ice or paper napkins. CCD has some of best staff ever, akin to McDonalds, which has invested heavily in building training systems and a growth plan for their associates. This ensures that the staff not only keeps getting better and better at what they do, but they also stay longer with an organisation. BTW, at Way2Franchise, being master franchisees and an investor in a few brands, we too plan to keep strengthening our workforce, more on that in the coming posts.

Are Indian food franchises listening?