Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kake da Dhaba

Highways give me a high, and the passion of driving runs deep in my veins, No, this post is not about my driving experiences, but about a more concerning topic - Food! Yes, I know, yours truly has another passions as well, delicious, scrumptious food, and this weakness has made me look out for the best roadside eating joints available on the roads less traveled, and food retailing of course is one of the sectors I keenly look out on.

I belong to the North part of the country, and a simple drive down from Chandigarh to New Delhi, would allow me to practice my passion of exploring food, now I can go on describing the best eating joints on NH-22, but that’s not the whole point. Somehow the government has woken up to the profits being made by these Dhaba’s - sans the taxes, and popularity beyond the control of the organized retailers (a.k.a Reliance A1), and then there was a demolition drive along my favorite parts of the highway! and then I moved onto new roads, Mumbai - Pune highway, I couldn’t locate many eating joints, but the emergence of some “organized” retailing was evident, with eating joints teaming up with petrol pumps, and providing one stop solution to the hungry stomachs, and during this interrogation I simply, unknowingly and unconsciously ordered my favorite Nescafe Frappe, had it and decided to move, and pat came the price - 40 Rs. - Freakin 40 bucks- for my regular cup of frappe? Was it not 15 bucks I last checked? Convenience charge eh? Inflation you say…

Somehow then, the glorious images of the dhaba menu card started circling around my head, how did they manage it? They were providing convenience as well, and some smiles along with it! and yet, I ended up paying for a service which was pathetic. They lived on numbers! and stick-ed to the traditional methods of bringing down the cost, which apparently is not visible to so called organized retailers, who are busy shifting stores more than providing the experience, and they blame it on inflation.

A simple search about “Dhabha” on Flickr landed me with more images of Dhaba’s opening up abroad, than India. We are somehow, in the rush of differentiating organized with unorganized are forgetting our core competency, we were always the cost cutters, the trend maybe a hit around the globe, but we have always had it, and it was visible in our Dhaba trend, a place where the whole of India, would sit under one roof, from a truck driver to a Mercedes benz, and enjoy a meal which would pack our stomachs, but would still go on. This is the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid, the books talk about, not the consumer but the retailer, and this is where the organized retailers need to hit upon, we are still a price + quantity + experience + relationship oriented market.


Post a Comment