A restaurant is a business establishment that serves food and drinks, sometimes, even alcoholic ones. They may follow various formats, from self- to silver-service, from casual to fine dining, and each has its takers. Very often the same person may visit one or another eatery in expectations of a different experience.
So what would make a restaurant a great evening out? Food is first, it has to be made to not just meet but exceed expectations. Then comes service, a good place should make us feel welcome and staff’s service is a concern for an overall enjoyment of the place as it would remain an important factor in deciding whether one visits again or not. And then finally other things like location, accessibility, cuisine, etc , will also matter in the overall decision-making process, contributing in a small yet significant manner.
So to put all these qualities into one box, for me, the greatest restaurant in the world would have to be my own home. Admittedly the food isn’t all fine dining (and I’ve even heard they use frozen meats and also heat up leftovers for various meals) but the service is definitely very enjoyable and I love the ambience, not to mention the location and ease of access. As for the food niggle, that can be easily handled: why, I simply order in.
Food delivery, from the time I have spent in the F&B industry, is poised to be the next big thing. Wait, it is already big, so make that the next boom; this sector is ready to explode! Many a restauranteur has been more than aware of this coming wave and has already diversified into the space. While serving food in a restaurant has its challenges, they are easy compared to ensuring that the same food can make it to a destination that could be halfway across the city and still retain its original intended flavours and freshness.
There was a time when the delivery zone was defined in terms of distance (no more than 3-5 kms) and the time for an average delivery was anything from an hour to 90 minutes. Domino’s came and changed all that. It put the rest of the industry in high gear as others too upped their game as they jumped onto the bandwagon.
Today I can order anything from sushi to sambar-rice to be delivered home. I can even order haleem from another city knowing that it will reach me in under 24-hours. From pizzas to papads, Mexican to Chinese, almost any cuisine and practically any dish can be packed and sent off anywhere within the greater (but reasonable) metropolitan limits of any big city. For a small packing charge I save myself the fuel cost, the obnoxiously high mall parking fees, the traffic snarls and the convenience of not having to change my clothes — this is truly the (lazy) heaven I was promised then. Sure there is a hassle of doing the dishes after but that too has its mechanical solutions.
And yet there are few award ceremonies recognising the effort of this segment, one which stands to easily overtake the standard format dining establishments in due time. If I had my way, I would first institute awards here before the others. So if you have any favourite home delivery places in your city, please send in the names: I’d be happy to populate a list, purely crowd-sourced, and share it forth.
Here’s a toast: that may we never eat a bad meal again!
The writer is a sommelier