Fast Food & Cafe Convention in Bengaluru


Our country has seen tremendous growth in the Fast Food and Cafes over the past decade.  Most of the outlets have been started by budding entrepreneurs who wanted to serve unique dishes to customers.  Many of the outlets have become very successful and they have opened outlets across the city & few across the country as well.  There are also many, that have started and shutdown as they have been unable to manage due to various reasons.  This has held back many that want to open something of their own or even expand their operation.

Fast Food & Café Convention (FFCC) hosted by Outbox, was India’s first QSR & Café focused event.  The event invited speaker from various establish & successful eateries, share their first-hand experience and solutions for overcoming challenges.  This full-day convention was held in Hotel Lalith Ashok on 10th May 2018, powered by NDTV Food along with McCain & Mobikon.  There were plenty of media partners and FBCI was the most noteworthy among all who invited me to be part of the event.

Event Highlights

The convention had key people from some of the leading Fast Food & Café chain across the country. There were plenty of Speakers, Panel Discussion on various topics and break-out session with the experts.  Event was structured to let get deeper insight about the way business being run by successful chains.

Some of the brands that were represented include – Dominos, Pizza, Hut, Keventers, McDonalds’, Lite Bite Foods, Café Coffee Day, Vasudeve Adigas, Wow Momo, Green Kitchen Multi Speciality Food, Mad Over Donuts, Dineout, Bluestar, Swiggy,  Brewberry Hospitality, deGustibus Hospitality, Barcelos, Drunken Monkey, Freshmenu and many more.

The participants of the convention included many owners of Fast Food & Cafes (Jus Trufs, Chaipatty, etc) across Bangalore.  Their objective would have to been clearly learn from successful brands and clarify many of the doubts acting as road-blocks.

Address by Chairman

The complete convention was preceded over by the chairman of FFCC, Mr.Samir Kuckreja.  He is also the Founder & CEO of Tasanaya Hospitality and has over 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  In the past, he was the president of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) between 2008-2014.  He started the convention by shedding light into ‘Profitable Growth for QSRs & Café’.

Some of the points that he mentioned which I would like to highlight.

  • The F&B Industry in the country has seen rapid growth along with high closure rate. But the closure rates are comparatively lesser than across the globe.
  • Most important survival tactics to success in the industry would be to have a unique and differentiation concept. He also adds that one needs to choose the right location and serve consistent quality to customers.
  • Social media and digital marketing are essential for all restaurant. Majority of customers make their dining decision based on social media profile of restaurant.  Technology will play a major role in various business aspect of F&B industry.
  • QSR segment has evolved and grown rapidly over the last few years. The change has been observed in both Western Food based International QSR chain & Domestic chain serving Indian foods.
  • Regional cuisine restaurant food of different cuisine like Bengali, Kerala, Hyderabadi, Chettinad, have opened in QSR format.
  • Organized F&B industry has seen over 1billion VC funding in last 2 years.

There are many more thoughts shared which have been captured in the FFCC Bengaluru booklet.  The book also had something which looked like the theme of the FFCC – Learn, Network, Have fun & Gain the tools necessary to flourish.

Panel Discussion

Is Product Innovation key to Remain on Top?

They topics that were covered as part of this discussion included.

  • Are product innovations pushing QSR’s & Cafes to come out of the shell they are living in?
  • Is the innovation transforming the industry’s concept standard & products?
  • How can businesses ensure the area of innovation chosen makes sense for their business model?

The discussion was moderated by Kumar Katra, President – Business Mobikon.  Panellist part of the discussion included.

  • Rohit Aggarwal, Director, Lite Bite Foods
  • Saurabh Kalra, Director – Restaurant Solutions Group, McDonald’s India, West & South
  • Sohrab Sitaram, CEO & Director, Keventers
  • Tarun Bhasin, Ex-President & CEO, Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Shyam Mohan, Founder & CEO, Tier 1 Network
  • Unnat Varma, Managing Director – Indian Subcontinent, Pizza Hut

The panel discussion was very useful and there were plenty of take-aways.  It’s nice to know that brands have innovation deeply etched in their philosophy and consider that to be extremely essential to stay competitive in F&B industry.

Supply Chain Conundrum

This panel discussion dealt with on many topics rated to freshness and sourcing.  They key questions being address were.

  • Are emerging concepts and consumer demands for freshness & reliability shaking up the old system?
  • Is there a fundamental shift in how the stakeholders who make up the foodservice supply chain are approaching sourcing?
  • Can our current sourcing & logistics keep pace with the QSR Industry challenges?

The discussion was moderated by Ajay Khanna, CEO Foo Courts, Kwals Hospitality.  Panellist part of the discussion included.

  • Suju Datta, Senior General Manager – QA, Café Coffee Day
  • Biju Thomas, Director & COO, Vasudev Adigas
  • Niloy Chakraborty, Business Head, Wow Mom
  • Sarvana Gughan, CEO, Green Kitchen, Multi-Speciality Food
  • Santosh Doiphode, Head – Purchase, Supply & Logistics, Mad Over Donuts

The panellists discussion in lengths & breaths sharing insight from their own brands.

Mindfulness: The New Customer Attitude

This was the last topic of Panel discussion and there were some important aspects that were discussed.

  • Are health & wellness, enhanced nutrition & social conscience the new mantra?
  • How is the natural foods movement and greater public awareness around healthy eating impacting the industry?
  • How far has the quick service industry really come in terms of health?
  • Consumer demand for better-for-your foods is high, but has the really translated to a change on the menu?

The pane discussion was Moderated by Tanu Ganguly, Editor, NDTV Food.  Panellist part of the discussion included.

  • Ankur Gupta, Director & Co-Founder, Brewberrys Hospitality
  • Anurag Katriar, Executive Director & CEO, deGustibus Hospitality
  • Nabhajit Ghosh, VP Culinary and R&D, Swiggy
  • Rohit Malhotra, Business Head India, Barcelos
  • Samrat Reddy, Founder & Director, Drunken Monkey
  • Alok Pandey, COO, Freshmu

This was another very interesting session and many of the panellists had some great points to share.  Let me share a few thoughts of them.

  • Food served in all the outlets are nutritious and healthy.  It is necessary to focus on serving tasty food to make the customer come back to the outlets.
  • Customers don’t step out of the house thinking of eating something nutritious or healthy.
  • If there are some customers asking for healthy food, it can be introduced if the team (including Chefs) possess the right skills. Coming up with something that limited number of customers want may not be very beneficial in the long run.
  • The nutrition value of every item served in QSR model is well known to customers.  Given a choice, most of the customers prefer picking up something that’s more calorie-rich.
  • In future, if the researchers come up with ingredients that are healthy and maintain the flavours, restauranteurs will be glad to use them.

Speakers on specific Topics

There were plenty of speakers sharing their perspective on various topics from F&B industry that concerned QSR & Café business.

  • Retaining Customers with Cutting Edge Technology
    Kumar Katra, President – Business Mobikon
  • Innovation Menu Solutions for Your Business
    Kunal Yadav, Head – Sales & Marketing – Food Service, QSR & McDonald Business Unit, McCain
  • Refrigeration Solutions to Help Your Business do Better
    Srikant Subramanian, General Manager, Blue Star
  • Presentation by Carysil
    Amitabh Upadhyay, VP Sales & Marketing Carysil (Acrysil Ltd)
  • Driving Operational & Marketing Efficient for QSR’s
    Sahil Jain, Co-Founder, Dineout
  • Billing Made Easy
    Sunil Veena, Co-Founder Quinta
  • Been There Done That BY Not Being There: Opening new Vistas With Teleporting Robots for QSR

Break Out Session

This was one of the most interesting session where the participants had informal discussion with some of the experts.  There were 3 breakout groups with individual session leaders, participants could take part in any of the discussion to seek inputs & clarify doubts.  At the end of the discussion the session-leader shared the summary of the discussion to the audience.

Innovative Social Media Marketing

Session Leader – Sahil Jain, Co-Founder, DIneout
Social Media is an integral part of running a modern business.  The discussion involved many restaurant owners sharing their investment into Social Media presence and the techniques used.  There was discussion on how one can see the ROI for investment done on Social Media.

To Franchise or Not – That is the Question

Session Leader – Shrey Aggarwal, Founder, The Belgian Waffle Co
The need to have a clear concept before jumping on the bandwagon and franchise.  Other topics discussed were around the cost of franchising and potential earning capability.  Participants felt that without proper planning, franchise model lead to more loss.

Customer Service – Does it Rule the Roost in this Industry

Session Leader – Jayanth Narayanan, Founder & Director, Mani’s Dum Biryani
The points that came out of the discuss was to supplying guests an appealing product, quickly and accurately in a clean environment.  There was also message for keeping a friendly face across the counter to keep the customers loyal.  Necessity to train the staff before start contributing to the QSR restaurants.

Q&A Sessions

This was the last part of the convention where the willing participants could ask questions to the various panellists and chairman.  Some of the questions asked included –

  • Should I be introducing healthy alternatives like Quinoa into my menu?
  • How much to invest on Digital Marketing?
  • Where should the customers post reviews?
  • How can advances in technology help my café business?


Apart from the various discussion I mentioned earlier, there were plenty of stalls by various exhibitors.  Some of the leading brands that had their stalls including – Veeba, Ecolab, NEC, Ezetap, McCain, METRO, Testo, Orillet, Nusyn, Bandar, Forstar, The Taste’L, Food Service India, Apollo, IEDPL and Raiser.

Most of the stalls had actual products for demo, food products from brands for tasting and brand representatives sharing more info.

Overall Experience

This was one of the best event related to Food that I have attend by far.  The topics discussed were related to Fast Food & Café industry, it gave a thorough insight into the F&B industry.  It gave an opportunity to hear from the success stories of multiple brands, the processes followed and solutions to their internal problems. Event was well structured giving participants interact with leader from various brands during Panel Discussion, Breakout session and Q&A session.  Hopefully there will be many more such events to educate people and we see many more successful eateries.

Big thanks to FBCI for inviting me for the event and Oddbox for setting up a great event in assocation with NDTV Food.

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