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“Downtime presents own set of difficulties for us”
Monday, 04 September, 2023, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Bombay Caterers Association (BCA) recently organised the biggest event in the catering and décor industry - the Catering & Decor Expo 2023. It has been instrumental in offering guidance, assistance, and a conducive environment that nurtures excellence for India's catering sector. With a storied legacy, BCA has played a substantial role in shaping and enhancing the country's catering industry. The association has embraced the mission of advancing professionalism, fostering creativity, and promoting hospitality.

Lalit Jain, exhibition convener and Bombay Caterers Association spokesperson, talks about the latest trends in catering and décor industry and more in an email interview with Aanchal Chaudhary. Excerpts:

How has the catering and décor industry in India evolved over the time?
Over the past decade, the landscape of the catering and décor industry in India has undergone profound shifts. Emerging trends such as destination weddings, candid weddings, and theme-based weddings have triggered a significant transformation. The pervasive influence of social media has further accelerated this evolution. The relentless pursuit of trends through social media channels has catalysed the industry's growth. Alongside these evolving trends, consumer preferences have also evolved, emphasising intricate details and thematic elements. This industry is in a continuous state of acceleration, evolving in sync with the changing preferences of its discerning clientele.

How does the cultural diversity in India influence catering and décor choices for different events and occasions?
India's rich cultural diversity profoundly shapes catering and decor selections for a myriad of events. In contemporary times, South Indian weddings might embrace unconventional themes and cuisines, while North Indian weddings might explore entirely distinct cultural elements. This proclivity for experimentation pervades Indian society. High-end and themed luxury weddings now encompass a diverse array of events, featuring global cuisines, celebrity chefs, and immersive experiences. India's regional diversity ensures that every corner of the nation hosts unique occasions, contributing to a tapestry of rich experiences.

What are some of the trends and future prospects in this industry?
At present, a discernible trend revolves around intimate gatherings, signifying a shift toward exclusivity and refined hospitality. The emphasis lies on luxury experiences over larger crowds, a defining characteristic of contemporary events. Additionally, trends such as fusion cuisine, vibrant themed events, sustainable wedding practices, and destination weddings have gained prominence. The industry's continuous evolution is characterised by its responsiveness to evolving consumer preferences and the integration of innovative concepts.

What challenges do catering and décor professionals typically face in India?
It's a seasonal business at times we have so many inquiries, we are even compelled to decline some clients due to the sheer volume of events. Additionally, during certain off-season periods, which constitute about 60% of the year, we experience a lack of scheduled events. This downtime presents its own set of difficulties for us.

There are times when we receive numerous inquiries and have to manage multiple events simultaneously. This juggling act presents the significant challenge of ensuring impeccable execution for each occasion.

Discuss the importance of sustainability and eco-friendly practices in this industry.
The adoption of sustainability and eco-friendly practices is imperative within the catering and decor industry. Notably, this industry has taken the lead in swiftly moving away from plastic usage. The once-prevalent reliance on disposable plastic has been significantly reduced, with eco-friendly alternatives taking precedence. This pivotal shift underscores the industry's commitment to minimising its environmental footprint and aligning its practices with global sustainability objectives.

Any plans for future collaborations for Bombay Caterers Association?
The Bombay Caterers Association has embarked on a journey of collaboration with various catering and decor associations. These strategic partnerships aim to enhance the stature of our flagship event, the Catering & Decor Expo. By synergising efforts with like-minded associations, we are dedicated to amplifying the impact and influence of this prominent industry exposition, thereby further enriching the industry landscape.
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