The New York bar that opens at 6am!

What comes to mind when you say Pop ? Music genre, cinema eatables and ofcourse your father’s nickname, are just some of the first thoughts. But team pop with retail and what you get is this amazing concoction of goodies that you rarely get to see or even experience at times …

Take for example the newest kind of Bar … one that can be frequented at 8 am just before heading to work. Its true ! A cereal bar. #Kellogg’s recently opened their Manhattan #cafe much to the delight of tourists and cereal lovers. Innovation in retail has always played an important factor,but do these marketing ideas promise retail sustainability? and more importantly should they?

In Kellogg’s case, the criticism has already begun. The 15 day old Times Square store has been branded as Super expensive, exotically priced and a rip off by many who compare its 7-10 dollar per bowl pricing to the same bowl prepared at home at 3-5 dollars. But as many others argue, experience is all that matters. Making the humble breakfast cereal an all day gourmet meal, that’s got to be priceless right?

Kellogs Cereal Bar

 

Food has always been the pied piper, which attracts footfalls to markets,malls and high streets, a concept Indian retailers are learning too. But while the West has gone through the adolescent retail stage, India is still in its teens.

While gone are the usual suspects, you will find one kiosk wonders hiding in the food courts of malls, but we are yet to see the demand for niche flavors.

Molecular food, Vegan delights and exotic Sushi are present by way of standalone establishments but it will be long before the regular Indian food lover will demand innovation for everyday snacks. Imagine an idli bar where you pick your southern snack out of your personal steamer, or a make-your-own-bhelpuri cart.

While I am lucky to be alive at a time when sushi, steaks and cheese cakes are abundantly available, I hope to reborn in an era where Delight Your Customer is the base of all decisions and the world is their oyster!

 

#bringiton #pulse #foodtrends #cafe #kelloggs

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How Travel is changing people and people are changing Travel

Travel- a luxury Indians learnt about very late. In the generations before ours, Travel was the means to an end- A family wedding,  visiting a sick family member, to keep a tab on old parents, a funeral, a religious journey and the list goes on.

From my conversations with my grand parents, I noticed that they never took a trip without a cause. Such was the precedence. But as one generation gave way to another, the mindset changed, one holiday a year, turned into 2 and before you knew it- Gen Y that includes me was brought up in a world of 2 small and one big holiday a year.

But what fascinates me is how our holidays have changed in the last 15 years. The early holidays were about discovering and taking in the usual- World famous tourist sites, most rated restaurants, beaches and you name it. But as more and more of us are travelling to more and more places some old some new, far more adventure, recreational  and newer attractions are coming up.

Take for eg: London:  While the South Bank walk, Westminster gazing, London eye trip, Covent Garden eateries and of course Bond Street will always be part of a travellers staple diet- Strawberry picking on the outskirts of the city, living the TV Show ‘The Crystal Maze’, discovering London’s first popup made of shipping containers – Boxpark  are gaining equal popularity with vacationers.

India too is going through its share elevating the holiday experience to ensure repeat travel and strong word of mouth. So while earlier the Indian bound tourist was happy visiting the Taj, shopping at Connaught Place ( I know its Rajeev Chowk now but when talking about heritage you got to call it CP)  and taking pics at India Gate, I am happy to see heritage walks to Chandni Chowk, culinary walks to Jama Masjid, Qawwali experiences at Nizamuddin Dargah and even INTACH architectural walks getting their fair share of visitors.

As more people travel across the world, and look for something new, the travel industry innovates to make each trip memorable and insatiable.

I am happy to say I am evolving as a traveller and am one millionth of a reason for the emerging traveller attractions.

After all like an unknown visionary said ‘We travel not to escape Life But for Life not to Escape Us’

 

 

Insights from Linkedin Brand Connect Delhi

Marketing sessions have the tendency to be super boring. Usually countless cups of coffees, numerous Facebook updates and even inane chats with long lost friends through the process can’t guarantee an attentive mind. And that’s why for me Linkedin gets an A+.

3 sessions of 35 minutes each.

Each session talking about a  different facet of Marketing.

Most importantly, putting across a new mindset for today’s marketeer.

TRANSFORMING ROLE OF MARKETING 

In this session Hugh Burkitt, ex CEO of Marketing Society, UK touched on key issues that marketeers should keep in mind. His favourite three point mantra-

Future -Create a shared vision for the future and backtrack.

Engage-Don’t forget your biggest critic and end user- the customer

Deliver– Execution is the name of the game. All those amazing plans on paper are zero till executed.

TRANSFORMING THE NATION’S BRAND

Akshay Kothari, Country Head, Linkedin, India in conversation with Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog was a great insight into how the current government devised the Skill India, Made in India and Start Ups India programmes, the bureaucratic web that his team and he had to cut through to execute plans into action.  Optimism is the key to helping transform India, he said.

So while we all sit in our air conditioned offices and crib about India and how its never going to change, it was nice to hear that there are those in the South Block offices who are actually working towards a new future.

Specifically Kant’s work in changing the murky backwaters of Kerela into the much sought after travel destination it is today, gave us an insight on how long it takes for the effects to show. Kerela will always be thankful to him for their second name- God’s Own Country.

 

TRANSFORMING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS

As always the best was saved for the last, as Shannon Stubo, CMO, Linkedin grilled Jeff Weiner, CEO, Linkedin on the complex relationships between CEO’s and CMO’s, the power of communication in ensuring sustainable growth and why top management should – DIVE IN to social media.

The best take away for me in context to Indian companies was how he believes that Marketing should be involved with Product during the development stage. Its not a baton from product to marketing , and marketing to sales, he says.

Product is king, but the best product can tank if its not in sync with the marketing team’s communication.

 

With ample food for thought after this session, looking forward to the next one Team Linkedin .

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#LIBrandConnect

 

 

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When lunch at Andhra Bhawan taught me the smallest ingredient in the business’s big revenues

Our Sundays are dedicated to experimental meals- Expensive, Road side, State bhawan or chef’s special, whatever the heart desires that particular Sunday.

This particular weekend we craved good South Indian and so we began our journey to the small 75 seater state run canteen in Lutyens Delhi. Now I must admit, this was not our first outing to Andhra Bhawan, and maybe thats why, this time past the steaming sambhar, mouth watering biryani, pooris and sitaphal subzi, I actually saw why we had a quarterly craving for this non air conditioned, all-you-can-eat thali joint: Consistency.

One of the smallest and unmeasurable drivers in business is the ability to give its customer’s A-Class experience every time they visit. While new business is important, its always the existing customer that makes up the bigger sales pie for most businesses.

Every time I head to Andhra Bhawan I know, what I am in for and yet look forward to it every single time. Here’s why:

  1. Clear role division- When you sit down to eat, you notice that each person walking around the room has a clear task – to serve you a particular item, clean the table , refill your thali or to ensure your ordered meal reaches the right table. In the corporate world, this not only removes the whole blame game but also adds clear responsibility to each person.
  2. Roving Eye Manager – Even at a small eatery like the Bhawan, there is one manager only observing and ensuring that each food item is being circulated well, each server is paying attention to the 40 odd tables and that no time is lost in between customers. This role is very important, especially in large businesses, as the only task of this manager is to observe the flaws in the system and fix them. Something that can save big companies big losses by nipping operational problems in the bud.
  3. Method in Madness- As you queue up outside the entrance of this eating joint, you realise how fabulously the 100 odd waiting customers are led to their respective lines and engaged. Patrons continuously keep repeating the same message for the benefit of every new queue joiner and that is to take a token and await their number. The token line leads you to the cashier who takes your order and money so that post finishing your meal you don’t waste time leaving the table. Processes and clear flow charts of how tasks are to be carried out help not only save time but also maximise productivity on the group level.
  4. Time Management- Would you believe if I told you that on an average each customer takes 18-20 minutes from when they sit on the table to when they finish their meal? ( That too with 3 refills ) The caterers have brought the time spent by each eater to this optimum time by ensuring fast service on the floor, shorter turn around time by the kitchen and most importantly keeping the menu limited to 7 items at any given time. This not only makes the choice easier for customers but ensures that in every hour they can serve almost 200 people in a 75 seater cafe. I am sure you can do the math on how much more they earn than a regular eatery their size.
  5. Know your expertise- Despite the multi cuisine joints favored by most today, the Bhawan has chosen to stick to its limited and yet unique menu. Diversifying is not always a good idea until the business has mastered one vertical. Growth does not always come from expansion

Now it may not be a Fortune 500 listed company, but if a company was to build their business on the framework of this canteen, there is nothing stopping it from topping the list.