Monday, April 12, 2010

Show me the money

A very strong-minded person I know wrote a piece and sent to some of us that discussed how the fine dining culture of the city would disappear fast if we, the patrons, didn't do something about it. And with that article, he brought up an issue that I can't help but agree with. He says that less than 10% Bangaloreans (a statistic he's got from restaurant managers) would turn up as paying customers and I quote: "The owner of the free-standing restaurant noted that while a hundred high-flying socially active people will arrive at a even just a day's notice for a wine dinner that they occasionally host as a business-development effort."
I have always been suspicious of this but 10% is a terrible number.

On the other hand, people seem to be eating out a lot. People who aren't from the high-flying socially active segment. Where do they go? If I walk into a high-end mall, the Indian restaurant on its roof always has people. Regular people. My favourite restaurant has expats walking in and out all the time, even on a Monday evening.
But I would agree with the writer because what he says is true. I have often dined with just two other people where ours was the only table that night.
I think it's time restaurant focused more on the spending crowd than on the visible crowd. The social butterflies are great for PR but they aren't the ones who'll bring in the moolah.

The chef of one Indian restaurant, extremely talented, is rarely seen outside the four walls of his kitchen. He doesn't always hobnob with the 'right' crowd and yet, I have rarely seen his restaurant anything but full.
Indians like comfort food. They will go out one night in six months to try something avant garde. But as something more regular, they will go to places that actually make them feel more at home... And those restaurants never complain about business.

However, if you accepts an invitation to attend a wine dinner at the same place more than once, we're assuming that you are accepting it because you like the food. Then why can't people go back at their own time, with their friends and actually pay for a meal once in a while? And if you don't like the food, why accept the invitation at all. Bad food won't become delectable simply because it's free.

I really do wish people would shun the comfort zone of a few cafes and holes in the city and spend the same amount of money on a new place - it's important to keep the cycle in motion or else, as the above-mentioned writer puts it, fine dining in Bangalore is going to die.

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