Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

What's cooking

| Updated on August 12, 2013 Published on August 04, 2013

Quick serve restaurants are growing at a fast pace in India

We tend to over-eat when we eat out

On a random Wednesday night, while passing-by an eatery near my house, I find it swarming with people. Not just this place, fast food outlets, pizza points, bakeries, creameries, restaurants big and small, road-side stalls are all filled with hungry crowd.

Chewing cud

It makes me wonder if we have lost our way to the kitchen at home. If eating out is for fun, why is there a crowd on all days? It almost seems like this is a regular event or even a necessity. Research firms predict that Indian quick-serve restaurants will grow at over 30 per cent annually every year in the next 5 years. The growth has been around 34 per cent in the last 2 years. Almost all global big names want a piece of this proverbial pie.

The alarming rate at which this is becoming the normal leaves us no time to chew on the issues with this trend and digest its implications.

Biting off more

The readily obvious issue is one of cost. Eating out is terribly expensive and of course everyone knows that! The shops are not paying rent, electric and gas bill, footing the increasing employee cost and escalating food cost, just to break-even. Nor are the global food majors salivating for thin margins and single digit revenue growth. There are huge profits to be made and buyers will have to gulp down the high price. In a low growth, high inflation environment, such as what we have now, one must look to tighten our belts, by spending mindfully.

However, by eating out, we may have to loosen our belt for yet another reason – weight gain. Either due to the way food is prepared or due to the choice we make, we eat more than we need to, when we eat out. Home-made food, considered dull and repetitive, helps moderate intake, possibly by its un-glamorous nature.

There may be other lurking dangers too. Additives, preservatives and colours in food are not monitored or regulated and we may be slow poisoning ourselves. Nothing stops addictive substances such as MSG (Ajino Moto) from being added to make us crave the food and make repeated visits.

Es-chew

Granted that we lead a hectic life and are too busy to cook and clean-up. We are also blessed to have the chance to try out many new dishes that our previous generations had not heard of. Yet, I want to recall what my now 93-year-old aunt said when I asked her about the last time she ate out. “Never”.

Published on August 04, 2013
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