F&B guru Rocky Mohan believes a resurgence in Kolkata’s dining scene is lurking
Rocky Mohan, theman who made eating out at the choicest restaurants a fuss-free affair thanks to his Dineout app, has clubbed the app with Gourmet Passport to come up with Dineout Passport while offering a string of delightful discounts to lure patrons back to the restaurants — perhaps the worst-hit sector in the pandemic. Rocky, whose father Ved Rattan Mohan was the founder of the iconic Indian rum Old Monk, is a tall figure in the F&B business by his own right. The gregarious man takes the conversation beyond the app and talks about the resurgence of food business in Kolkata and why cloud kitchens will have to pass the Darwin’s theory. Excerpts:
The F&B industry has been one of the worst-hit during COVID-19 emergency. Was Dineout Passport introduced keeping the exigency in mind?
It has been a very big setback for the F&B industry and it will take a lot of time to get back to its feet. Gourmet Passport ran successfully until the pandemic happened. Post the pandemic we decided to rebrand the product and hence dropped the word gourmet and changed it to Dineout Passport. It’s the same product but far more inclusive. Earlier we were dealing with an exclusive number of members but we wanted to grow our base and the dynamism of Dineout will help us in increasing that base. It’s a move that is financially and commercially viable.
How challenging was it come out of that phase when the business was zero?
You have to emotionally dig deep, be steadfast and have faith like a normal human being. We are social animals and for us human connect is very important. The biggest learning has been how to keep the team motivated.
How has the response been in Kolkata?
Kolkata was a big revelation for us. We were amazed by the response that we got. It is a resurging city and F&B is coming back stronger than ever. Kolkata at one point in time used to be the ‘Mecca of good food’ in the country and then, unfortunately, it went down the drains. But in the past few years, I have seen a bit of resurgence in the city’s dining scene with the best of the brands investing here.
We have also witnessed the rise of a number of home chefs and bakers in the last few months. Where do you feel their future lies?
Everything that comes at a particular time will have to go through Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’. The passionate ones, who are here to do serious business, will survive.
When can we expect your next book?
I have been working on this book for long and it’s in the research-and-review phase. The first manuscript will be ready by February next year