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TeamLease sees need for investment, service in Indian F&B retail sector
Thursday, 20 July, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
TeamLease sees need for investment, innovation, creativity and service in the Indian food and beverage retail sector. This is because of the demand, which will spur the growth of the sector.

The industry, which comprises not just the physical large retail stores, but also food ordering apps, small restaurants and fine dining restaurants, are now gearing up for the next level of expansion with information technology.

“One thing we all have to agree is that the F&B sector, despite whatever the economy is going through, will now come down because it is a lifestyle,” Neeti Sharma, senior vice-president, TeamLease Services, told F&B News.

“Be it a small F&B space or a restaurant, there is a continuous need for investment, innovation, creativity and service,” she added.

“While innovation and creativity are really back office, service delivery is front office. This service encompasses retail stores to food delivery, which is a big business,” said Sharma.

With the onset of e-commerce, there is a profusion of app-based offerings. For instance, Zomato, which is India’s largest restaurant search app, is connected to a delivery staff through apps.

Fresh Menu, which has its own menu and deliver the same through the same format. Swiggy too is a platform for other restaurants to have their menus delivered.

“Therefore, there is a need for the service sector to cater to the needs of aggregators,” Sharma said.

“There are numerous app-based and location-specific deliveries which have transformed the retail space to woo consumers to order at any time of the day and night, which is a big requirement. So all this will impel growth of the retail sector,” she added.

Yet another indicator that growth is imminent in this space, and the sector cannot be ignored is that Amazon is now focusing on online retail grocery market.

According to reports, the online e-commerce major is expected to start the sale of groceries in India after it receives the consent of the government of India with a projected investment of $500 million via the foreign direct investment (FDI) route.

On how the workforce is enthused to join the retail mainstream, Sharma said, “At the entry level, there are ample openings. These include service, not just service at restaurants but front office staff and customer care as well.”

“There are certain job roles that need both education and a personality. There is also a need for people who speak the local language, with computer skills to operate credit card machines and even the app,” she added.

“Here, at this level, skills are required. In terms of education, we do see grade X and XII students take on these roles. The people who serve us at Dominos, KFC McDonalds and Cafe Coffee Day have understood the business,” Sharma said.

They also get trained on the job. “There is significant career growth potential, as we see people are enthused to pursue and continue on this job and look for promotions at the mid-level and senior level,” she added.

“There are also new roles in quality control and research and development (R&D), and therefore, there is a continuous requirement for people at this level,” Sharma said.

The KPMG report on the human resources and skill development in the retail sector for the periods between 2013 and 2017 and 2017 and 2022 highlighted that the Indian retail industry has been growing at a steady pace fuelled by factors like changing lifestyles, rising disposable incomes, favourable demographics and easy credit availability.

The sector contributes to 23 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and will have smaller cities evolve fast to constitute the majority share of the organised retail sector in the coming years. Food and grocery account for 31 per cent of the share of employment in the retail sector.

“There are a lot of institutes focusing clearly in the food and beverage sector, not just on skilling but on specialisations also. From the online stores with no physical presence and the expanding bakery industry have considerable openings for skilled people which is the need of the hour,” Sharma said.

“We also see consumers using products which are alien to India, like imported or locally-sourced vegetables and fruits. The vendors also need to be about these product needs, freshness, quality and the health benefits,” she added.

“Fine dining restaurants serve global multi-cuisines. Despite the imposition of goods and services tax (GST) on outlets with revenues over Rs 20 lakh, we will not see people stopping eating out. We could see consolidation to be a catalyst to garner growth and revenues,” said Sharma.
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