Innovate to carry on

Vikas Pant, the Culinary Director at The Suryaa, New Delhi, talks about the region’s F&B industry, trends he foresees, and how the hotel deals with challenges in this uber-competitive space.

HT Bureau

What is your view of the evolution of the F&B scene in Delhi-NCR?
The F&B sector in Delhi-NCR is very dynamic and is characterised by the continuous opening of new F&B concepts that offer a mix of innovative and traditional cuisines. Today’s consumer is very perceptive, is well travelled, and always demands innovation or newness without losing sight of value. With this backdrop, established brands face a continuous challenge to stay relevant for today’s consumers and face the onslaught from new entrants. Those brands that are able to maintain high quality standards and keep in mind the customer’s aspirations are able to thrive in the market.

How do you stand out in the face of competition?
Delhi-NCR’s F&B market is intensely competitive. Hotel F&B outlets not only face competition from outlets in other hotels, but also from high-end restaurants that have come up in several areas in the city. At Suryaa, our unwavering focus on quality of F&B offerings, extreme focus on providing quality customer service along with periodic renovation of our outlets has allowed us to create a niche in the hospitality sector, resulting in an increase in the number of loyal customers that swear by our high standards.

How often do you experiment with your menu?
Thinking out of the box and innovating is the need of the hour. Introducing something new time and again to your patrons would always give them a variation in offerings and they would like to try that. Innovation is the key to surviving in today’s marketplace and at Suryaa we understand this very well. We keep on experimenting with our F&B offerings to be able to offer something new to our customers and do not forget about our basics.

What is your biggest challenge and how do you deal with it?
In today’s time, when a new restaurant opens virtually every week or so, the biggest challenge is to keep the brand’s relevance intact for the target segment. At Suryaa, we organise various food promotions and festivals throughout the year that help us showcase our culinary excellence. Sales and marketing initiatives help us spread the word about these events to targeted customers. Our strong brand equity, high quality F&B offerings, high customer focus, and world-class outlets help in generating favourable word of mouth publicity from our patrons and, not to forget, our core value of ‘Service so memorable’ for which guests keep coming back to us.

What trends do you see in the market in the next few months?
We expect the F&B space to remain competitive with a focus on innovation. Keeping in mind the summer season, the focus of our F&B offerings will be a fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetable-based innovative menu and also utilising our pool facility and club with food and beverage offerings.