Bengaluru

Indira Canteen impact: Bigger idlis, new dishes at your local darshini

Some are increasing the quantity of food while others are adding new items to their menu.

Some are increasing the quantity of food while others are adding new items to their menu.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Darshinis tweak business model to take on new ‘competitor’

If you thought the idlis on your plate or the portion of rice bath at the neighbourhood darshini have gotten bigger, your mind is not playing tricks on you. Rather, you can thank the nearest Indira Canteen.

The State government’s ambitious new offering — canteens that serve staples at highly subsidised rates — are giving the local darshinis a run for their money. Darshinis are reworking their business model and introducing a slew of measures to take on the new ‘competitor’ and retain their regular customers.

Their concern is simple: breakfast costs ₹5 and lunch/dinner ₹10 at the Indira canteens, which is around four times cheaper than what they would cost at a darshini.

Nagaraju Aithal, cashier at Mahalakshmi refreshments in Mahalakshmi Layout, said that they have increased the size of their idlis. “We do not want to reduce the price of our food. So, we are increasing the quantity so that customers feel there is value for their money,” he said.

Vikram R., who works as a delivery executive for a food delivery app, said, “I am usually in a hurry. Standing in a queue at an Indira Canteen for breakfast would be difficult. So, I am glad that darshinis have increased the quantity of food.”

Some others are adding new items to their menu and including those that are not available in Indira canteens.

Namratha Verma, who runs South Idlis in Rajajinagar, said their business had been hit due to the opening of an Indira Canteen 200 metres away. “Our business has declined by 10%. We are doing everything we can to retain customers. We have been offering only South Indian food, but now plan to serve noodles, fried rice and other Chinese items,” she said.

Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association president Chandrashekhar Hebbar said it is natural for darshinis to tweak their business model for their survival, as they are already incurring losses after the introduction of GST as more people are opting for street food. He, however, has not come across reports of businesses in darshinis dipping after the launch of Indira canteens.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:39:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/indira-canteen-impact-bigger-idlis-new-dishes-at-your-local-darshini/article19536437.ece

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