The Indian food and beverage scenario is huge, estimated today at about INR 400 lakh crore and is expected to reach about INR 550 lakh crore by 2020.The first phase of growth in the industry (from 2010-2016) was highly attributed to the customer consolidation and technology companies played a very important role in that .The major roadblocks cleared by these so called F&B first generation startups were discovery, ordering and delivery.
We see companies like Zomato, Swiggy, Dineout, Foodpanda, Uber eats etc, all did a fantastic job and has taken “the having food from outside” to a different level. Going forward the next disruption which seems on the cards is on the backend of a restaurant, which is about managing resources with optimal efficiency.
Let’s understand a little bit more about what are the resources which a food company has to manage to derive optimal results. In food and beverage business the cost is divided mainly across four functions:
- Real estate
- Supply chain
Today all these functions are handled manually which leads to inefficiencies like: Pilferage, delay, lack of standardization, clerical error etc. The major areas where most of the companies are working are in aggregating data to make the system more informed and make it much more transparent. Major advancements are made in building platforms to capture and bring these data points in all segments available to the food businesses, so that middle men could be eliminated and huge cost savings could be made. These platforms are using these data points to automate process on the backend of a restaurant. Even investors have realized the potential in B2B side of the F&B industry and huge money has been pumped in the last financial year (2017-18) in this sector, it is expected more companies and deal will be done in this financial year (2018-2019).
While advance machine learning algorithms and neural network implementations still looks a far-fetched dream, but the basic infrastructure looks in place which will in turn enhance the supply chain efficiencies. With food norms getting stricter in the country , product mapping and quality control has also become very critical .A lot of companies are doing research in these fields, even block chain implementation is being worked to trace the grain one eats at a restaurant. With these advancement the actual “farm-to-fork” implementation could be achieve.US and China are much ahead of us in this implementation but India is catching up.AI is another field where the Indian startup ecosystem has contributed immensely, supply chain automation is on the cusp of a new beginning, companies like Bigbasket, Adurcup, Metro Cash and Carry are doing great in the supply chain area. The major change has been brought to the segment as companies started capturing the expense data and have found a way to connect with the sales data. Major roadblocks in this seems to be the integratbility of the POS (point of sales) with the expense side software, as soon as this happens the gates to AI based purchase is open. We are not far from the day the auto refill of stocks would start happening with zero manual intervention. Many leading POS companies have shown the will to accept the idea of integration with expense side players but its early days.
On the other side, with reach and visibility being available to the restaurants, the focus has now shifted to create the right experience. The number of theme restaurants, innovation in SKU’s has increased tremendously and has been critical in retaining customers. Restaurants are open to try new ways to impress their customers and keep them interested as loyalty programs and discounts no longer remain exciting. Internet of things based experiences are not away and a lot of hardware innovations are coming in these fields. With all these developments the food and beverage industry looks to prosper to new heights with technology being the major driving force.
About the Author- Kushang
Kumar Kushang is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Adurcup Private Limited. Kushang focuses on developing innovative solutions to supply chain problems in this industry. He is a product developer by instinct as implementing solutions in real life helps me realize the difficulty of the problem. He lives by the mantra of “Try hard enough, so that you succeed”.
Source :-The 10 Best Customer Friendly Food Startups in India