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Hot food at your doorstep

Home delivery of food, a popular and new trend has come to stay. VIDHU JOHN finds that citywallahs are adventurous foodies, quite unlike their conservative image. They are dialling for food as a convenient option and sometimes just for a change!

DIAL AND appease your hunger! Dial and get the food of your choice; dial and then relax. Get ready to eat hot and yummy meal brought at your doorstep, cooked professionally in kitchens far away. All this, just at the turn of a dial.

This recent trend in the city of home delivery of food points at a change in the lifestyles and eating habits of Kochiites. They are breaking free of the traditional strait of life and being adventurous- with their palates at least! What else can explain the positive response by the city wallahs to this new service of home delivery being offered by the restaurants in town?

Let's check out a few reasons for this fast catching trend. Unexpected guests arriving at your doorstep? Worried about how to feed them (without losing face)? Close relatives dropping by? Can't be bothered with the hassle of preparing a long drawn out gourmet meal, when you'd rather spend quality time catching up with family news? Then there's definitely something to be said about enjoying a break in the space and quiet of one's home, after a long and hectic day, isn't there? And so it seems that more and more of our city dwellers are discovering the joys of dining at home, on cuisine tastefully prepared by professional chefs outside one's hearth and home, of course!

With the restaurants in the city more than willing to deliver entire ranges of mouth-watering dishes at your door within a mere hour or less, food has ceased to become a worry (and hassle!) to all those perfect hosts and hostesses out there. And who says that bachelors living away from home can't throw a party, have friends over and have a blast? All it takes any more is to know the right restaurant and of course the right telephone number!

As Mr. Chandran, the Manager of Eloor Lending Library succinctly puts it "This new trend of home delivery is a fabulous idea. It's a guaranteed way to save time and effort. And it's a safety net as well! No more having to break into sweat because of unexpected guests dropping by near lunch or dinner time" For others, reasons for greeting this new development in cuisine scenario, with enthusiasm is varied. Naima Habeeb, a postgraduate student living in the city exclaims, "It's a different way of doing things! Especially when one gets together with friends. No more of having to go as a huge gang to a popular restaurant and drawing curious looks at the noise generated. You get the food delivered, at no extra expense. It kind of amounts to pampering ourselves!" Still others claim that this manner of dining brings colour and vitality to an otherwise routine life, not to mention a welcome change to the taste buds.

And if proprietors of various restaurants, in and around the city, who offer this kind of service, are to be believed, then this is one trend that is really catching on like wild fire, and has managed to carve a niche for itself! For the businesses, it's `Business' as usual. It's been just a matter of recognising a growing need and demand among those Kochiites who have fallen into a lifestyle of demanding careers and even more demanding domestic chores- and catering to their wish fulfilment! In fact, eat outs have turned their attention to this new aspect more from compulsion than choice. As the manager of a popular eatery in the city pointed out, the percentage of patrons who come in to dine at the restaurant has dropped drastically while phone-in orders and subsequent deliveries have increased to astronomical levels! So a change in tactics has been necessary with more attention being paid to the concept of free home delivery, of orders that total to a minimum pre-decided value.

Kochi offers a variety of choice to the discerning. Depending on your budget and preference of cuisine there are eateries like ChicKing, Domino's, Fen Fang, Bon Appetit, and Malabar Biryani House, which offer this popular service, besides many others. Where a pizza might cost anywhere between a little over Rs.100 to nearly Rs.400, a sumptuous meal of Indian and continental dishes can be had for a little over Rs.200. And your wish is their command, which means that the range of selection offered is endless- from Chinese cuisine, chicken nuggets, pizzas, sandwiches, garlic breads, south Indian delicacies, biryanis and combos. You name it... .they have it!!

Nevertheless, despite its increasing popularity, there are at least some who are disenchanted with the very idea of home delivery. For the simple reason that sometimes restaurants do forget their promised deadline for delivery, ending up hours late! It also does seem strange that while getting food delivered at the doorstep has become a norm among those who live in the heart of the city, especially areas like Panampilly Nagar, Kadavanthra and Kaloor, the suburbs are yet to catch on this fancy. Here `take-aways' seem to be the `in' thing. And surprisingly, not restaurants with high priced menus that appeal, but small local ones and eat-outs run from homes. For these small, eateries, the concept of home delivery is just another PR incentive, not a marketing strategy like bigger food joints. It's also entirely dependent on the convenience of the proprietor!

Well, it's been said that variety is the spice of life. Ah! But this `spice' comes at a price. And while most cannot afford to eat home delivered food on a regular basis, it does hold some novelty, as it's a once-in-a-while kind of thing. So, break out of your mould, `once in a while'. Any time you want to do things a little differently and add a little spice to your life. Go on, pick up the phone and order in food ... ..Indulge yourself!

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