The Goa chapter of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) was formally launched at a resort near Panaji on Thursday with the objective of serving as a platform for advocating fair business policies, providing education and training to sector employees and promoters, to facilitate networking and collaboration, maintaining industry standards and supporting local businesses and cuisines.
The launch of the Goa chapter of the NRAI, a national association which represents the interest of more than five lakh restaurants across the country, comes at a time when a recent study revealed that nearly 50 percent of the money spent by a tourist in Goa is incurred on food and beverages, which underlines the significance of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs to the Goan economy.
“So for every rupee spent in Goa, 50 paise is directly spent on food and beverage, because that’s the main activity here. People either go to restaurants and bars or will go to nightclubs and there again they will eat or drink beverages,” according to Prahlad Sukhtankar, head of the NRAI’s newly launched Goa chapter, which was launched at the hands of Honourable Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte.
Speaking about the aims and objectives of the NRAI, Prahlad said: “I am committed to working closely with other members of the chapter to ensure that the interests of the restaurant industry in Goa are well represented and protected. I will be focused on addressing the challenges of the industry, supporting the professional development of members, fostering effective communication and collaboration among chapter members, and promoting the Goa chapter at the national level. With the support of the members, I am confident that together we can achieve our goal of making the restaurant industry in Goa a prosperous and thriving one”.
He also said that nearly 45 percent of the state’s population is directly or indirectly employed by the restaurant industry in Goa.
Rough estimates suggest that there are around 8,000 registered restaurants in the state.
Honourable Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte welcomed the setting up of the Goa chapter of the NRAI and said that the association would serve as a platform for restaurateurs to voice their legitimate grievances with the government for faster redressal.
“With the Goa chapter of the National Restaurant Association of India and Prahlad and the whole team coming in, it is a day for us to celebrate and think about how things need to come together. As a government I keep saying, we are only facilitators. But when it comes to tourism and its stakeholders like you, we also need to understand what is the back-up you need and how we can think about putting things together in a collaborative manner. I am pretty sure, as Goa Tourism, food has to be one of the main things, which we need to start highlighting,” Shri Rohan Khaunte, Honourable Minister of Tourism said.
In a video address Honourable Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant said that the Goa chapter of the National Restaurant Association of India provides a platform for local restaurants to come together, share ideas and best practices towards the growth and development of the industry.
“I am confident that with the support of the state government and the hard work of the members of the Goa chapter of the National Restaurant Association of India, we will be able to take the culinary scene in Goa to new heights. We will work to bring more investment in the restaurant industry, create more opportunities for our chefs and restaurateurs and promote Goan cuisine to the world. I urge all of you to support the local restaurants in our community and to try the different cuisine that Goa has to offer. By supporting the local restaurants you will be supporting the local economy and helping to create more job opportunities for our citizens,” the Chief Minister said.
The other members of the core committee of NRAI (Goa) are Akshay Quenim (co-chapter head), Pranav Dhuri (secretary), Amey Naik (joint secretary), Rajesh Salgaonkar (treasurer and sponsorship), Girish Desai (joint treasurer), Gaurish Dhond and Vincent Ramos (both advisory committee members).
Kabir Suri, NRAI President, Co-founder & Director, Azure Hospitality said: “Good food and nightlife options are critical for the discerning traveller when they’re choosing where to go and the recent explosion of very good quality restaurants and bars is helping shape Goa’s identity to be even more attractive.”
“Many new restaurants are extensions of their very popular outposts in other cities. These brands are very well known and liked across the country and this greatly helps entice good quality diners from these cities to Goa” said Rahul Singh, NRAI Trustee & Past President, Founder and CEO, BTB Marketing Pvt. Ltd.
Rohan Khaunte, Honourable Minister of Tourism felicitated Smt. Jyoti J. Sardesai, Director, Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Goa India; Gaurish Dhond, President of Goa Hotel and Restaurant Association Partner, Hotel Manoshanti and Advisory Committee Member, Goa Chapter and Vincent Ramos, Sr. Vice President of IHCL Goa and Advisory Committee Members, Goa Chapter at the event.