Its isn't the food, stupid!

This should be interesting. Roadside Kebab king Bade Miyan is going premium. On cards, is a slew of fine dining restaurants that will try and tickle fickle up-market taste buds. Bade Miyan wants to take the premium road because his upmarket clientele who 'home-order' his wares, as they don't want to be rubbing shoulders with 'Aam junta' (masses) in the dust and heat, will get a chance to dig into his cuisine in surroundings that appeal.

'If all goes to plan, uniformed waiters will replace the existing crop of chokras, piped music should take the place of car horns and swear words, and freshly washed serviettes will outsmart the ‘mini tissues’ being handed out now. For the 70-year-old Mumbai street-food legend, the transformation from a 10x4 feet steel stall to a restaurant will be a quantum leap.'

The question is, will Bade Miyan make it with the rich and mighty?

Yes; that is if he understands that the change in consumer segment makes a change in mindset imperative. Let me explain. The high and mighty are as ignorant or knowledgeable as the aam junta when it comes to food. Though they may pretend otherwise, they don't know anymore about what's 'authentic' food. Of course, there may be exceptions. But they are few and far in between. To cater to this hoighty-toighty crowd requires Bade Miyan to take food beyond 'food' to an 'experience'.

It isn't the food, stupid!

Up-market dining is about appealing to all the senses, not just the palate. The surroundings and the ambiance must reek of 'manufactured class'. The music must be sublime. The food must come garnished. The waiter must be adept at 'silver service'. That means serving from a bowl, using a service set, only from the left hand side. Right is for plated food. The Cook turned Chef now has to wander the dining hall, make small talk. Promise recipes to fashionable women.

Tell you what, for Bade Miyan, this will be radical. I am not so sure how comfortable he will be with this sort of business model. For his sake I hope he is. Here's wishing him the best for the 'Bada' road ahead.


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