Shorter menus, smaller plates of food, here are the major changes that Hyderabad food scene is facing 

We dig into how the economy is reflected in the city’s restaurant and fine dining culture, which is undergoing rapid evolution, accelerated by the pandemic
Paradise outlet
Paradise outlet

If you’ve eaten out at a restaurant lately, you may have noticed that there have been some significant changes — menus are shorter, food is being served in smaller portions but quickly, but the price has shot up. Besides, restaurants are shrinking in size with a chain of outlets that dot the city’s length and breadth. Most popular restaurant chains in the city have chalked out a plan for expansion, while downsizing the menu to a signature one.

These changes are a result of evolution triggered by the pandemic, fast-expanding cities, inflation and traffic.“Now we don’t have to drive to Paradise to get Paradise Biryani because they have over 50 outlets serving the same. Whichever restaurant it may be, if they are popular and want to survive, they need to expand their territory through outlets, and they are doing it,” says Shankar Krishnamurthy, Hyderabad chapter head of the National Restaurant Association of India.

Earlier this year, Paradise Biryani planned to come up with 50 outlets in the city, while Pista House planned more this year. According to Krishnamurthy, it will help maintain quality and provides better outreach. “All the third-party delivery platforms deliver only within a radius of a few kilometres, and people don’t have the energy or time to drive from one part of the city to another to satiate their hunger pangs. So, restaurants have come up with more outlets. It helps effortless fulfilment of orders through delivery services and is for better outreach for those who want to pick up or dine-in,” he adds.

It’s not just big restaurants that are doing it; even the new ones like Zero 40 and Conçu have come up with this strategy, albeit on a smaller scale. “When any place has a signature menu which has gained popularity, they must find ways to develop its accessibility,” says Zubair Ali, a city-based food blogger.Many fine-dine restaurants also serve in small portions while food prices increase, and the signature menu means less preparation time.

“It’s the result of purchasing power and inflation. Hyderabad has purchasing power; it just needs that quick delivery. The restaurant industry, may they call it or not, is going for the Tapas concept where the food gets served like starters in smaller portions. The menu is smaller, but the ingredients are top-notch, ensuring the recipe served is authentic,” Zubair adds.

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