Get savvy or gobust: Street food joints reinvent after Covid shock
Hindustan Times Delhi|November 01, 2021
Satish Kumar sells kachoris on a cart in east Delhi's Shahdara. It is Saturday afternoon and the cart is surrounded by foodies wanting to sample his unique kachori mixed with dry fruits.
Manoj Sharma

NEW DELHI: During the pandemic, he has opened two more street-side vending outlets in east Delhi and Ghaziabad under franchise model.

“During the lockdown, my business suffered heavily. But the pandemic has made me a smarter street food vendor. Soon you will see my brand all over Delhi, says Kumar who has transformed his business in the past year through a slew of branding and digital marketing initiatives. “The pandemic has helped me re-imagine my business, adds Kumar who runs Bhola Shankar Kachori Wale.

From savvy social media marketing to providing home deliveries through online food aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato; accepting digital payment; signing up with food tour operators to seeking the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) certifications, street food vendors are reinventing their businesses to survive in the post-Covid world.

It all started during the lockdown last year when most street vendors faced a crisis of survival. According to the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), Delhi had about 60,000 street food vendors before the pandemic , but now only about 30, 000 are left. Many of them are known for their unique dishes. Soon after the lockdown last year, Kumar, known for his dry fruit kachoris, first got himself a logo, a business website to better market himself and take orders and payment online, and even hired a youngster to create and run his social media accounts, partnered with a host of food aggregators and a courier service for food delivery.

I realised that it could not be business as usual, and we would not only have to work hard to bring back our old customers, but also expand the customer base to survive. So I went for a franchise model, says Kumar. “Today, I have more customers than before, says Kumar.

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