Of course, proliferation of food tech companies with their online food ordering facility has revolutionsed the food service industry, and nowadays you do not need to step out of your homes to have the taste of eating out (though holistic eating out experience is a different matter, for which you need to visit restaurants to get a feel of the ambience, décor, concept, and service of the outlet concerned).
After the lockdowns, the food delivery industry in India is recovering at a fast pace and online food ordering business is expected to grow further in our Covid inflicted times, in the near future. But the extensive role of digitalisation in foodservice business goes much beyond online food ordering.
Nowadays thanks to online sites like Zomato, TripAdvisor and many other renowned online platforms, and also due to social media channels like Facebook, the power of guests has increased manifolds. In this digital age if a restaurant falters in terms of taste, ambience or hygiene, there is not only a high chance of getting quick adverse criticism but those adverse views can also go viral in digital platforms in quick time.
For example, if a restaurant’s washroom is found unclean or if its tablecloths are found dirty or if its waiters are unkempt, then the guests are not only likely to avoid giving the restaurant a repeat visit, but may also post their ire about the restaurant on the social media. And if the post goes viral, of which there is a decent possibility, then the restaurant is in for serious trouble, which can not only be restricted to plummeting of its image and revenues but may also extend to initiation of stringent legal action against it.
Especially, during these trying times when the world is grappling with a pandemic and restaurants across India are allowed to resume operations only with stringent social distancing norms and other hygiene protocols in place, the faltering of restaurants or any other food service outlets in terms of hygiene can lead to its swift closure and inviting of legal actions, as news of such lapses can spread real fast in digital age.
Similarly, if a guest or a group of guests suffer from food contamination because of the restaurant staff’s lackadaisical attitude towards hygiene, then the guests’ Facebook posts regarding the same going viral can even lead to quick legal actions and eventual closure of the restaurant concerned.
Of course, a food service outlet which adheres to unhygienic practice deserves to be shut down and/or deserves to have legal actions slapped against it, but two decades or even one decade earlier such public outcry against those restaurants in India (even if they were operating in the organised food service industry of the country) who were seen flouting rules and norms of hygiene were not so quick.
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August - September 2020