The largely popular Fast Food and Café Convention organized by Oddbox hosted its 6th Edition of the convention after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

The event was held at The Lalit Ashok, in Bangalore on the 10th of May 2022. And though the organisers might have experienced a twitchy palm or two; wondering if people would show up and if it was a safe enough time to bring the F&B Community together – they needn’t have worried!

The event was their biggest yet! With over 700 attendees, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors. It was, to say the least, a triumph.

The convention hosted a conference and exhibition section hosted in two halls at the Lalit. The conference featured speakers and attendees from QSRs, Fast Casual, Cafés, Cloud Kitchens and Casual Dining Restaurants. The community came together with avid excitement after not having many networking opportunities during the pandemic.

The conversations were sparkling, smiles were genuine, discussions were in-depth, and the networking was dynamic.

The conference started off with a welcome note from Mini Jacob, the Co-Founder of Oddbox, who invited Mr. Bijou Kurien, the Chairman of the Retail Association India for the opening address.

Mr. Kurien, welcomed the attending audience and talked about the enthusiasm and resilience of the industry. He talked about how the F&B industry was now regrouping after 2 years, but regrouping with new knowledge, experiences and ambition. He talked about the modern discerning customer who has adapted to a hybrid lifestyle and how the industry has adapted to the customer leading them into change. How they should be prepared for it in the coming years. Mr. Kurien posed several relevant and thought-provoking questions around customer behavior, customer values and the adoption of these values within organisations to the audience – questions, he hoped would be discussed and answered through the course of the day during the several panels and presentations. In his closing remarks he hoped the attending audience would have a great day and leave more enriched than when they arrived for the day.

Welcome Note – Bijou Kurien

The first panel deliberated on “Customer Experience: A Much Greater Impetus Needed Now; More Than Ever!” The panel was moderated by Mr. Bijou Kurien, and the panel consisted of industry stalwarts: Aditya Karwa – Director, National Head Operations, Mc Donald’s West & South, Dheeraj Gupta – Founder & MD, Jumboking, Ranjit Talwar – Commercial Director India, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Tarak Bhattacharya – Executive Director & COO, Mad Over Donuts, and Vishal Jindal – Founder, Biryani by Kilo. The Session focused on one simple aspect – Is customer experience more important today than the focus it has been given in the past.

Customer Experience – A Much Greater Impetus Needed Now; More Than Ever!

The Next session was presented by Shaival Desai – Chief Growth Office, Petpooja, on “The Future of Quick Service Establishments”.

The Future of Quick Service Establishments.

We moved on to the F&B Spotlight session, delivered by Navaj Sharief – Founder & MD of Sharief Bhai & Saapad/ also former Founder Ammi’s Biryani who delivered a ten-minute presentation on the “Challenges and Mistakes While Scaling Up”.

Challenges and Mistakes While Scaling Up
Fast Food & Cafe Convention Conference Audience

The conference adjourned for a quick 30-minute coffee break allowing for the attendees to network, ask follow-up questions and walk the exhibition floor. The Convention was powered by Petpooja, and sponsored by Veeba, McCain, Peppo, Nucleus Kitchens, USAPEEC, Testo and Kaapi Machines.

The exhibition space was alive and energetic with exhibitors from Pradeep, iBrew, Aeonic, Flat Tables, Starchik, Boba Baba, Adeera Pack, Kaapi Solutions, T&S Brass, M Packs, Snacker Street, iMin, Lipi, Zume, Avery Dennison, Wyn Brands, Chuk, Possier, Dataweave, Poketpos, Magilhub, Trident,, Bambrew, Wooqer,, Resoee, Bechef, Selfserve by Aidio, Detpak, Racaana Energy, Evolved, and Bio Pastobag; setting up meetings and networking with the attending F&B chains.

Post the coffee break, the conference continued with the next panel discussion on the topic of “Online Food Delivery.” Moderated by Samir Kuckreja – Founder & CEO, Tasanaya Hospitality. On the Panel was Bert Mueller – Co-Founder & CEO, California Burrito, Gauri Devidayal – Co-Founder, Food Matters Group, Rashmi Daga – Founder, Fresh Menu, Shakir Haq – CEO, NKP Empire Ventures, and Swapnil Bajpai – AVP Sales, Swiggy.

Online Food Delivery.

The next 10-minute session flowed in with a presentation by Nurul Ayan – National On-Premise Key Account Manager from Red Bull, who talked about the “World of Red Bull.”

World of Red Bull.

Followed by Chef Mir Zafar Ali – Executive Chef, Leela palace Bangalore who presented the topic “Frozen is the New Fresh.”

Frozen is the New Fresh.

The last session before lunch was presented by Balaji Giri – KAM Food Solution Business, Testo on “Testo Digital Food Safety System.”

Testo Digital Food Safety System

The second half the day brought together more panels and sessions, starting off with an Illuminating panel on “The Changing Phase of Marketing” Moderated by Kapel Malhotra – Founder, Total Solutions Group. The panel consisted of some of the industry’s MVP’s: Ajay Khanna – Business Head, Vasudev Adiga’s, Amit Bagga – Founder, Daryaganj, Chaitanya Chitta – Founder, Slay Coffee, Gaurav Narang – Founder, Coffee Culture, and Vikas Punjabi – Founder, The Chocolate Room.

The Changing Phase of Marketing

McCain Presentation

McCain Presentation

We then proceeded to a 10-minute presentation by Ramya Ravi – Co-Founder, RNR on the topic of “Creating a Successful Brand During Lockdown.”

Creating a Successful Brand During Lockdown.”

Followed by “Adoption of Plant based Menu – an Upcoming Trend or Need of the Hour?” delivered by Dr. Vidya – CIO, Hatti Kaapi.

Adoption of Plant based Menu – an Upcoming Trend or Need of the Hour?

The last panel discussion of the day, focussed on the topic “The Rise of Could Kitchens.” Moderated by Sreedhar Prasad – Advisor- Internet Business & Startups Former Partner KPMG & Kalaar. The panel consisted once again of industry veterans: Biplab Chakraborty – Head of Investments, Rebel Foods, Biraja Rout – Founder, Biggies Burger, Gautam Balijepalli, Co-Founder & CEO, Kouzina Food Tech, Kumar Katra – CEO & Founder, CloudKitch, and Ramchander Raman – Co-Founder & COO, Nucleus Kitchens by Mukunda Foods.

The Rise of Could Kitchens.

The Convention concluded with a 45-Minute workshop by NRAI, delivered by Muralikrishnan – CMO & Co-Founder, Wow! Momo, on the largely popular topic “Jugaad Marketing.”

Jugaad Marketing.

All in all, the team at OddBox was thrilled to be able to host the event and bring the F&B community together at the Fast Food & Café Convention 2022!

We would like to thank each and every Moderator, Speaker, Sponsor, Exhibitor, and of course all the attendees; who took the time to come to the show and make this a day to remember! See you next year!

Upcoming Event

The F&B industry is dynamic and constantly evolving; it is growing and regrouping with new found knowledge and expertise. The key defining factor in the rapid evolution of the F&B industry is customer expectation. The industry is now looking to the customer to show them the way. The impetus given to consumers’ tastes, behaviours, and lifestyles and the implementation of these changing behaviours is keeping the F&B industry on its toes.

As a consequence of the new hybrid lifestyle dynamic the pandemic forced everyone to adjust and adapt to; consumers developed an appetite for an assortment of new and experimental foods, flavors, and tastes. Customer expectations and trends were further heighted as the modern discerning customer started caring about the quality of food and ingredients; not just flavor of the food they consumed at home or ordered in. It became even more crucial for the F&B industry to rethink the innovativeness of their menus, quality of product, and consistency.

Saying it is vital, is an understatement, for the industry to adapt to the new hybrid lifestyle of consumers. The hybrid lifestyle dynamic now indicates that consumers are balancing eating in and out. They care about freshness of the food and ingredients, the evolution of plant-based ingredients, the previously overlooked – look, feel and touch of packaging and brand, digital presence, brand values – every aspect of the F&B industry is under scrutiny by the consumer.

Newer technology requirements must be met to ensure the true omnichannel retail experience. Product innovation, expansion, M&A’s, and partnerships are some of the key strategies that can be adopted.

So, join us at the Fast Food & Café Convention 2022. Where all this and more will be addressed at the conference; giving you the opportunity to gain insights, network with and learn from some of the UAE’s biggest and brightest stars in the F&B space!

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