Covid pivot: Five-star food delivered right into your dining room

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on June 29, 2020

Some of the hotels are exploring newer avenues for revenue generation as well as to stay connected with their patrons   -  elenabs

From Taj Group and ITC to Marriott and Hyatt, several luxury hotels have opened up their kitchens for home delivery

Missing ‘Dal Bukhara’ — the creamy, slow-cooked black lentil curry from the iconic Bukhara restaurant at ITC Maurya — or the authentic North West Frontier style kebabs and tandoor from Peshawari in Chennai’s ITC Grand Chola?

Still drooling just thinking about the steaming hot ‘Prawn Har Gau’ — the plump and meaty dim sum dish from the Golden Dragon restaurant of Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai — or ‘The Japanese Shoyu Rice Bowl’ from the Wabi Sabi restaurant of The Oberoi, Bengaluru?

Worry not. Covid-19 can no longer prevent you from appeasing your taste buds and relish some of the finest cuisines from your favourite signature restaurants.

From ITC Hotels to Marriott, Hilton to Hyatt, several luxury hotels across India have opened up their kitchens for home delivery either by partnering with on-demand food delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato or by utilising their own fleet of vehicles.

For instance, ITC Hotels, which has tapped into food and beverage take-away models across the country recently, has tied up with Swiggy to open up its restaurants to bring home curated menus from ITC New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and a few other cities in the first phase of the tie-up. ITC Hotels recently launched a second menu called ‘Gourmet Couch’, a product that covers all its Peshawari theme restaurants.

Some of the hotels are exploring newer avenues for revenue generation as well as to stay connected with their patrons   -  BUSINESS LINE


“We are re-engineering our guest experiences with zero/low associate engagement (including digital ordering and e-payment solutions). The partnership with Swiggy will assist us in responsibly delivering our unique culinary experiences using their advanced distribution network,” said Anil Chadha, COO of ITC Hotels.

New avenues

Re-inventing their traditional business model, some of the hotels are also exploring newer avenues for revenue generation as well as to stay connected with their patrons.

For instance, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), which owns the Taj Group of Hotels, recently forayed into online gourmet food delivery with the launch of ‘Qmin’ to take Taj’s culinary experiences to every household. The Qmin service, which allows customers to place orders over phone (the Qmin app will go live in July), will cover the top ten markets in India, including Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru.

“This addition will augment the group’s F&B offerings leveraging a digital platform to address a growing consumer demand for online gourmet food delivery services. Qmin will scale up in the months ahead to include the gourmet Qmin Shop with delicatessen-based food choices. With the launch of Qmin, we bring Taj to their homes,” said Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO of IHCL.

In a few cases luxury isn’t too expensive either. The Leela hotel in Mumbai, which delivers food with its own fleet of cars, has been offering food at a price point starting from ₹475 and above from its Citrus and Zen restaurants in Mumbai.

DIY- Do It Yourself

Not just home delivery but some of the luxury hotels are also finding innovative ways to engage with their patrons even by sharing their best kept secret recipes.

Ritz-Carlton Bengaluru has come up with an innovative ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) initiative under which the hotel home delivers all the ingredients with a special recipe note from its executive chef explaining step-by-step on how to make some gourmet dishes at home.

“The DIY concept has been so well-appreciated, with families sharing stories and videos of cooking dishes together and bonding. It has been heartening to know that we have played a part in creating indelible memories,” said Amitabh Rai, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore.

Kaushik Vardharajan, Director, Real Estate Program at Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, said, “People are understandably concerned about hygiene and sanitation protocols and standards when ordering these days.

“Five-Star hotels can play an important role here, given the very high level of attention paid to these factors by trained professionals in these hotels. I believe the trend of food delivery by hotels will become more popular over the next several months and will continue beyond the pandemic.”

Safety, hygiene & sanitation

Luxury hotels, which are renowned for their world-class safety, hygiene and sanitation protocols, are also putting these specialities to best use. Recently Delhi-based Le Meridien has started to offer sanitation services to corporates on a contractual basis.

“Since we have house-keeping staff available at our disposal, we have started offering this service. So far, we have done sanitisation work in an office in Connaught Place, Saket to name a few,” said Tarun Thakral, Chief Operating Officer, Le Meridien

Laundry services

Recently, ITC Hotels also launched ‘LAVANDERIA’, a contactless laundry service to allow customers to handover the items at a designated point at the hotel and pick up the laundered clothes within 24 hours. The customer would be intimated via a message which would include a payment link to enable contactless payment.

“Innovating and pivoting to find avenues for revenue generation is important in this period. The safety, hygiene and reliability quotient associated with organised and branded hotels is high,” said Achin Khanna, Managing Partner of Hotelivate, a hospitality consultancy firm.

“While offering this service to their patrons therefore makes sense for now, it is my view that the post-Covid era may continue to allow for some of this business to continue. That being said, this is not core to hotels and offers some incremental revenue opportunity at best,” Khanna added.

With inputs from Forum Gandhi (Mumbai), Garima Singh (New Delhi) and Sangeetha Chengappa (Bengaluru)

Published on June 29, 2020

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