Shreyas Kulkarni

'Marriott on Wheels’ delivers new campaign as India begins to lock itself and food delivery sees a sharp spike

Most Indian states have announced some form of lockdown to combat the second COVID wave. People will now order from home more than ever before.

Home delivery is one of the most elementary services a restaurant, or cafe offers. But when a five-star hotel, a la Marriott or Taj, says it will deliver signature dishes from its restaurants to your doorstep, you stop to think.

As per ‘COVID-19: Impact on the Indian Hotels Sector’ report by HVS, a consulting firm specialising in the hospitality industry, hotels should “provide services that have traditionally not been part of their core offerings, such as food delivery, through online platforms, or leasing of kitchens for cloud kitchen requirements.”

A report by Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said last year India's online food industry to become a $8 billion market by 2022.

In May last year (2020), we (afaqs!) reported that Marriott International had started offering its ‘Marriott on Wheels’ delivery service through an agreement with Swiggy, a leading food delivery app.

Launched in 2019, Marriott on Wheels is the global hospitality giant's first food truck in India that serves its signature dishes, as well as local favourites.

'Marriott on Wheels’ delivers new campaign as India begins to lock itself and food delivery sees a sharp spike

A cursory look at the website of this food truck-turned-premium delivery service in 2020 reveals that you can place orders not only through Swiggy, but Zomato, another leading food delivery brand, and place direct orders too. It is available in 26 cities and 76 hotels across India.

Last month, Marriott on Wheels released two ads that centred on funny and eccentric situations that play out among family members in a day, or a lifetime. This was a part of its digital campaign ‘Good Food = Good Mood’.

Conceptualised by Shaun Kolah (Warp Studios) and produced by Toast Events, the campaign includes a series of five films, shot in four languages – Hindi, English, Bengali and Kannada.

Khushnooma Kapadia, senior area director of marketing - South Asia for Marriott International Inc., said, “Being cognizant of the dynamically evolving external environment and with people being encouraged to stay home, Marriott on Wheels remains a strong medium to ensure our guests do not miss out on their favourite food.”

“Encapsulating the love our cuisines have received and the innate power of food to uplift our moods, we have created a lighthearted digital campaign built on relatable and meaningful situations. It enables us to interact with our customers through a creative dialogue, allowing us to grow brand awareness and strengthen the brand perception.”

In June last year, the Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) that owns the Taj hotels, announced the launch of Qmin, its food delivery platform. As per the hospitality giant, you can “enjoy our signature dishes from your favourite restaurants in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Pune and Jaipur.”

Hyatt Regency Delhi too entered the home delivery space with Hyatt Regency Delhi Delivers in June 2020. One has to visit to order a range of delicacies from its restaurants.

You can order from Oberoi Hotels and Resorts’ specially curated home delivery menu as well. Participating restaurants include The Oberoi in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Gurugram, Kolkata and Mumbai.

While these are some of the five-star hotels that offer online delivery, the food delivery giants aren’t far away. Many of these hotels and others have tied up with the likes of Swiggy and Zomato to reach out to more customers.

Swiggy used to run ‘Scootsy’, an on-demand premium food delivery service that it had acquired in 2018. In June last year, Scootsy became a part of the main Swiggy app.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns also resulted in the rise of cloud kitchens. Rejo Francis, national sales head, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, described them as “a restaurant kitchen that only accepts incoming orders through an online ordering system and doesn’t offer a dine-in facility.”

Last year, Carnival Cinema had said that it will foray into the cloud kitchen business with Purple Foods & Beverages (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carnival Group). Wendy's, an American QSR chain, entered India in partnership with Rebel Foods, and as per Bloomberg, it will "open 250 cloud kitchens in India..."

And then, there are the established players like Behrouz Biryani, Faasos (owned by Rebel Foods), Biryani By Kilo, and BOX8. You can order food from these places via their own apps and websites, or through food delivery apps.

As India goes into another lockdown (most states are already in some form of lockdown), home delivery will see a sharp spike and the foodies will be spoilt for choice.

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