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Wakao Foods, The Chocolate Spoon Company look back with year ender report
Wednesday, 30 December, 2020, 14 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
With only a few days left for the year 2020 to end, we are all set to bid adieu. The year was challenging for every sector but despite the lockdown and several difficulties, companies have sprung back in action. For a few, the lockdown also posed itself as an opportunity to launch their brand amidst the pandemic with the change in consumer behaviour.

Wakao Foods
Wakao Foods is a Goa-based sustainable food brand that offers handpicked natural products.

Right around the time when the world was under lockdown due to the pandemic, the folks at Wakao Foods were in the research and development stage and creating their very first jackfruit meat offering with a vision of benefiting the planet. The company stands for creating a better tomorrow - one where humanity thrives, with products that are curated from ethically grown and sourced produce that is then hygienically processed and packaged.

While the food and beverage industry suffered a great loss and came to a standstill, dietary choices came under the scanner. The lockdown has helped many people give some serious thought to their lifestyle and made it possible for them to adapt to alternate eating habits. There has been an increase in demand and curiosity amongst consumers to know more about vegan offerings. The consumers have reached a stage where they are finally ready to hear and talk about vegan products. The lockdown has been the best time for the company to venture out and speak about jackfruit meat.

Speaking on the same, Sairaj Dhond - CEO & Founder of Wakao Foods, said, "With the year ending, we can look back and adapt the learnings of 2020 to make a better tomorrow. Sustainability is at the center of everything right now and that is exactly where Wakao Foods is headed too. We believe in sustainability, working unitedly and continue being vocal for locals as we strengthen our presence throughout the country."

Rachel Goenka and The Chocolate Spoon Company
Incorporated in 2012, The Chocolate Spoon Company has a portfolio of multi-award-winning brands such as The Sassy Spoon, House of Mandarin, Sassy Teaspoon and more under its umbrella. Spearheaded by Rachel Goenka as the CEO and founder, the hospitality giant currently operates 7 restaurants, 10 patisseries, 2 central kitchens and 3 cloud brands across Mumbai and Pune.

The impact of the pandemic on the food and beverage industry has been unprecedented. It has incurred massive losses in the last few months and all reserves have been eroded. During the lockdown, the company witnessed about 20 per cent of Pre-Covid numbers in terms of revenue. Deliveries traditionally accounted for around 10 per cent of the overall revenue, and that doubled during the lockdown months.

The industry faced multiple challenges across the board from operational costs going up to staff availability and loss in dine-in revenues. It has become essential to monitor the supply chain even more closely to ensure merchants are also maintaining the utmost hygiene standards. There are standardised hygiene SOPs across the board.

For restaurants, maintaining a distance of 3 feet between each table is essential along with operating at a reduced capacity for each of the restaurants. This means the company had to alter the revenue model, which is the need of the hour. The menus have also been re-thought of and have added scannable links/ QR codes to access the menu.

The company took strict preventive measures to ensure the health and well being of the team who commenced duty during the lockdown. All staff underwent the RT-PCR test and antibody testing before resuming work at the outlets. Apart from the usual immunity boosting drinks and healthy food, employees were given the necessary zinc and Vitamin C tablets on a daily basis in addition to the routine discipline of taking steam and drinking hot water.

The employees also had access to counsellors who could communicate in multiple languages. All necessary information regarding updates on Covid research, Covid precautions and Covid measures taken by the government was continually provided to the team members.

The company had a doctor on call available for all employees and did not hesitate to admit the concerned person(s) in premium hospitals who required urgent medical attention. Comprehensive medical insurance coverage was undertaken when the health risks extended beyond Covid to malaria, typhoid & dengue. Given the limited staff that was available for executing operations at the outlet, the company recognized and rewarded gestures beyond the call of duty.  

Commenting on the same, Rachel Goenka - CEO and founder, The Chocolate Spoon Company, said, “The food and beverage industry was the worst hit due to the lockdown and gradually, yet slowly, we are all trying to recover from it. I, along with the exceptional people at The Sassy Spoon and House of Mandarin, are working tirelessly to make a safe environment for people. Customer delight will always continue to be at the heart of all our endeavours to offer unparalleled experiences. All in all, we can only hope for the coming year to be better and to recover the losses each one of us has made during the pandemic.”

Additionally, The Sassy Spoon, the trendy resto-bar, and House of Mandarin, the authentic oriental restaurant, bagged the Travel and Hospitality Award 2021 under the Food and Restaurant Awards program. The restaurants were selected as the top favorites amongst the 300 plus nominations received for this year’s awards. They secured their win with their uniqueness, quality of services and facilities with exceptional levels of customer care across a number of categories.

LUCARIS, the Crystal of Modern Asia, celebrates the new Asian dining and wining lifestyle. It is a world-class crystal glassware brand that is the preferred partner of leading global hotel chains and groups in the Asia Pacific region.

Covid-19 has impacted industries across segments whether it is a home-grown entity or a brand with a global footprint. The luxury glassware product industry was no exception and has been experiencing the negative impact of this pandemic.

The lockdown severely impacted travel and there has been a drop in sales of luxury glassware in the Indian subcontinent. The disruption of the supply chain from Thailand to India was another hurdle we had to overcome during this lockdown and pandemic. The focus pivoted to reaching and engaging with the audience sitting at home through various social media and online platforms.

The luxury industry has reinvented itself time and again by quickly adapting to the changes in society. In the long term, we foresee a more cheerful and healthier lifestyle post-COVID-19 where people shall treat themselves with luxury glassware.

"At LUCARIS, we believe it is important to keep consumers inspired and passionate in their life at home during this time. We are constantly trying to reach and engage our audience through our creative and informative brand content online. We are confident that LUCARIS will emerge stronger out of this COVID-19 crisis with the support of luxury glassware admirers,” said, Uday Verma, executive director,LUCARIS.

Dharana at Shillim and Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa:
Dharana at Shillim is the foremost eco-wellness retreat nestled in the serene and unspoiled landscape of the Sahyadri mountain range in the Western Ghats. Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa is the ideal leisure getaway for travellers that is close to Mumbai as well as Pune.

As the Covid-19 pandemic swept through the world putting countries, societies, communities and businesses under tremendous pressure with the enforcements of Social Distancing. A term that tears apart the very existence of the wellness and hospitality business as the core of it is personalisation, interactive, social and wellbeing.  Hence the lockdown and the pandemic has been extremely impactful for both the hospitality and wellness businesses.

The worst thing was the fear to an extent never seen before. With heavy restrictions on travel and movement, social-distancing norms and mass-hysteria stemming from the contagiousness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the global Spa industry finds itself perched precariously on the edge of a cliff. Being a business where personal & touch are the key to experience have become bad words now, there was a period of complete shutdown and standstill for the property unlike anything ever before.

Thanks to the era of digitalisation an array of innovative and new age methods were available to deliver the experiences to our guests who were even on the other side of the globe.  We adopted methods of online video consultations, personalized online sessions of Yoga, Ayurveda, Mental wellbeing and Dietetics.  This was warmly welcomed by both our guests who were already on the Dharana way of life as a follow up to their programmes and also the new guests who were looking at adopting wellbeing in these tough times.

With the world as we know it having changed over the past couple of months, the company has introduced two new wellness programmes to adapt to this ever-changing dynamic. These programmes would help you aid your immunity but also mental as well as physical strength and combat stress. The retreat not only allows for social distancing with their wide-spread villas but also takes utmost precautions for cleanliness and safety with their Hilton Clean Stay programme, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and Lysol to provide elevated Hygienic practices.

Srikant Peri, general manager, Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, said, "We see a visible trend developing of customers wanting to combine lifestyle management and wellness with their weekend getaways and vacations. Our business is looking up to it and gearing to servicing these new needs of the guests."

id8 Media Solutions
It goes without saying that almost every business and every industry has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The business, Integrated Marketing Communications was severely affected, the growth and success of this industry is largely dependent on the growth and success of other industries. But with all the challenges we have had during the time, the company stood strong by managing communication in a new world, clients and brand partners on an integrated level, keeping the team morale up, and planning to keep up the sales of the business.

The Agency used this time to go back within the foundation and have a fresh start to adapt to the new normal. id8 media solutions introduced a new software for team and agency working, successfully transferred to working remotely, managed to have a physical function in the form of a Diwali pooja, and welcomed 10 new clients. Consolidating all the new developments, the company had a positive and result oriented approach to acquire new business and partners.

Aman Swetta,co-founder and MD, id8 media solutions Private Limited, said, "This year has taught me one thing, that we are more resilient, stronger and more connected as a team than ever. I am positive that this will further strengthen our vision to offer a seamless, integrated and effective performance based solution to our brand partners."

Tanya Swetta, co- founder and CEO, id8 media solutions Private Limited, said, "The founding pillars of id8 which are honesty, integrity, quality and innovation have never rang more true in this new age. As we start afresh and reboot, we are making the most of our opportunity to up-skill and deliver even better, content driven, creative, integrated and tangible campaigns on behalf of our clients. We have learned a lot of lessons this year and evaluated things to make our agency more sustainable and continue to maintain the work-friendly environment that it always had. We will continue to service our client with the same level of enthusiasm and dedication, but this time it will be id8 media solutions version 2.0.”
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