NRAI Summit 2023: Throws light on critical issues to the restaurant industry’s growth on Day 1

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has successfully concluded Day 1 of the landmark NRAI Indian Restaurant Summit 2023 in Kolkata, marking a significant moment in the culinary industry’s evolution. This pivotal event, which began with a focus on innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable growth, has set in motion a nationwide movement that aims to redefine the restaurant industry’s role in India’s economic landscape.

The summit, themed “Cultivating Excellence” resonated throughout its enlightening discussions, laying the foundation for a brighter, more vibrant culinary future in India.

On the inaugural day, the event addressed topics critical to the restaurant industry’s growth. The discussions began with “Agility is not taught; it’s acquired – the new mantra of hospitality and retail,” where industry leaders grappled with the evolving dynamics of customer expectations and the critical role of adaptability in a rapidly changing world.

Under the visionary leadership of Sagar Daryani, Vice President of NRAI and Co-founder/CEO of Wow! Momos, the summit transcended being just an event; it became a national movement. Daryani passionately expressed, “The NRAI Indian Restaurant Summit is not just an event; it’s a catalyst for profound change. We are fostering innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable growth within our dynamic industry. Our sights are set on addressing pressing challenges and driving our nation’s culinary future to greater heights. We’re expanding our footprint beyond Delhi and Mumbai, nurturing chapters across the country, and envisioning grand events in Chennai, Bengaluru, Bhopal, and beyond.”

The summit received distinguished guests, including Firhad Hakim, Hon’ble Mayor of Kolkata, Minister of Urban Development, Municipal Affairs, and Housing, Government of West Bengal, who echoed the sentiment of the summit’s significance in fostering economic progress. Nandini Chakravorty, IAS, Principal Secretary, Dept. of Tourism, emphasized the pivotal role of the restaurant industry in the economic growth of West Bengal.

In a captivating panel discussion, luminaries from Bira, Chaayos, Speciality Restaurants, Rebel Foods, Swiggy, OAKS Capital, Box8, and B-Natural, are guided by the adept moderation of Wow! Momos, explored the complexities of crafting brands that resonate with both urban and rural consumers.

The summit ignited discussions on whether “Food is theatre in the Instagram world and not only taste anymore,” exploring the sensory aspects of dining experiences.

In an era where data reigns supreme, a compelling panel discussion titled “Data is food, not fuel anymore!” featured industry leaders from Swiggy, DotPe, Pet Puja, Amazon Pay, Magic Pin, GT, and NIPS Hospitality Group. The discussion delved into how restaurants could harness the power of data to optimize operations, understand customer preferences, and drive targeted marketing campaigns.

The summit paid homage to the past, celebrated the present, and envisioned the future with a discussion on “Indian Restauranting: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”. It served as a testament to the industry’s resilience and evolution.

Esteemed figures from industry stalwarts such as Dominos, McDonald’s, Coke, Wow! Momos, Blue Tokai, BBK, and others gathered to explore the concepts of “Make in India” and “Made In India” in the culinary world. This discussion recognized the immense potential of Indian restaurants to shape global culinary narratives and served as an ode to the industry’s transformative journey, contributing to a profound dialogue on the future of Indian culinary identity.

The summit, led by Zorawar Kalra, underscored the rise of the chef-restaurateur and recognized the delicate balance between culinary creativity and financial success. It was not just about running a restaurant; it was a culinary revolution where esteemed chefs and industry experts engaged in an immersive discussion, navigating the intricate interplay of these two aspects.

The NRAI summit didn’t stop at discussions; it empowered the future of the restaurant industry. Workshops like “Fuel up your Food Start-up”, “Can ONDC Do to Food Delivery What UPI Did to Payments,” and “Managed Compliances under Goods and Services Tax for the Restaurant and Brand Owners” equipped entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive.

Kabir Suri, President of NRAI, emphasized, “The NRAI summit heralds an era where gastronomy meets nation-building. It transcends the realm of food; it’s about cultivating an environment where the Indian restaurant industry thrives, addressing pressing issues like licensing, GST input, and, most importantly, becoming a potent force propelling our nation’s economic growth.”

Riyaz Amlani, CEO of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd, echoed this sentiment, “Within our diverse nation, restaurants are not just places to dine; they are threads that intricately weave our culture and traditions. The NRAI Indian Restaurant Summit 2023 isn’t just a culinary event; it’s a movement to redefine the industry, tackle its challenges head-on, and create experiences that transcend boundaries and generations.”

As Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director of Massive Restaurants Pvt Ltd, and Founder of Indigo Hospitality Pvt Ltd, passionately declared, “Our journey as restaurateurs mirrors the transformation of our nation. This summit is a clarion call, a national movement that recognizes the immense potential of Indian restaurants to shape global culinary narratives.”

Anurag Kataria, Founder of Indigo Hospitality Pvt Ltd and Trustee of NRAI, affirmed, “The summit sparks a collective fervor to reimagine the hospitality landscape. It’s an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, aimed at elevating the dining experience for every Indian. We are addressing industry challenges and paving the way for a more robust restaurant ecosystem.”

As the sun set on Day 1 of the summit, the culinary community came together on a cruise party at the Bengal Paddle Jetty. This vital and festive gathering featured a cocktail night, an enchanting Hum-Sufi Band, and an electrifying musical night.

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