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Tuesday, Jul 16, 2002

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Functional eating joints in Hyderabad

M. Somasekhar

HYDERABAD, July 15

FOR the gourmet as well as the ordinary man, Hyderabad has emerged as a real delight. Tiffin rooms offering dishes tailored to the light wallets as well as swagruha foods catering to those sticklers of `made in home' taste and connoisseurs of hot, spicy Hyderabadi food such as biryani, are doing brisk business in different parts of the growing metropolis.

The conventional restaurant and hotel sector is definitely getting a run for its money. Heavily dependent on word of mouth publicity, these low-cost, functional eating joints have mushroomed in many localities. Most of these ventures are entrepreneur-driven, especially by young men, with the exception of some `swagruha foods', which are managed by housewives.

Popular breakfast foods such as idli, vada and puri (priced anywhere between Rs 5-8) to meals costing between Rs 15-20 seem to have become a big hit with bachelors and young executives and even working couples with tight schedules.

Seeking to add a new feature in this rapidly expanding unorganised business sector is "People's kitchen", a concept being promoted by Mr C.C. Reddy of the Visu Group of companies, with interests in education and information technology.

"We want to bring cleanliness and hygiene into the preparation and delivery of foods while keeping the price line very affordable at these people's kitchens," Mr Reddy told Business Line.

Traditional food preparations made in different regions of the State will be on offer at these outlets, where the customer will have the option of choosing the items he wants to eat or take home and pricing would be on that basis, he said.

The venture to be launched shortly will begin with 5-6 outlets in the city, where the interiors are being designed. Each will have a central kitchen and provide options to consumers to either eat there or carry home his choicest dishes. "Our target is to have 200 outlets in the city in a year," Mr Reddy said.

The people's kitchen would be presented in three forms — mini restaurants, where the customer can sit and eat; take-home centres where readymade parcels could be taken home and push carts, which would door deliver or directly sell the food items, he said.

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