Project Parivartan E&D is taking small scale F&B to the next level

Imagine you have a project deadline for tonight. Imagine you don’t even have time to step out for dinner. But you’re unimaginably hungry. Who do you usually reach out to in this situation? Isn’t it the friendly neighbourhood sandwich seller who is just a dial away?

Haven’t you ever had bhelpuri, chat, juice, chai at your neighbourhood stall numerous times? The answer could be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on how conscious you are about where you eat. But a larger population, especially working people do ask such small establishments for their occasional, if not daily, dose of food.

Of late, however, many of these smaller establishments are losing out to competition from established fast food joints that are not only capable of advertising, but also make offers to consumers to lure them to their food. Even smaller establishments that have stuck around for years are bearing the brunt.

Through the Parivartan initiative, Coca-Cola aims at helping smaller retailers in gaining skills to compete better in this fast paced, and technology centric world of F&B.

At Coca-Cola, this initiative also looked like a prospect that had to be dealt with, considering the un-organised segment of eating and drinking channels contributes over 90 per cent to the overall retail sector in India.

Parivartan eating & drinking (E&D) programme is an extension that was necessary in order to cater to unorganised eating and drinking channels, such as smaller sandwich joints, dhabas, and the likes, which are the second largest contributors for Coca-Cola, after mom and pop stores.

The programme which was initiated in 2012, and conducted its first training in 2013, has so far trained nearly 10000 people. Mom and pop stores were being trained since 2007- smaller eateries and food joints were one of the natural extensions, since they’re also one of the major contributors to Coca-Cola India.

E&D was thought of keeping in mind the limits that these food channels have. While something like a complete overhaul is out of question for such shopkeepers, it is many a times even a large task for them to be able to make a single large investment like painting their establishment.

Here is where Coca-Cola E&D plays a substantial role. It helps the store owners make small changes within their establishment –things that are under their control, along with building on the basic elements of hospitality such as behaviour, and professionalism. The idea is to engage with them and help them in a way where they would find value and gain profits.

The idea is to inform them about things that are in their control, and they can make changes to, such as raw materials that are purchased, cooking practices, storage of products, preparation methods, ingredients, cleanliness, and personal hygiene- basically things that come under the purview of food quality and hygiene, clean atmosphere, customer interaction, customisation of food and customer satisfaction.

Under the E&D initiative, keeping a broad view of the points above, storekeepers are taught various small ways and methods that could help them draw in more customers, and push their sales ahead. Say for instance, since it’s difficult for a small shop owner to keep changing their overall appearance, even their shop board, it is suggested that they could put up a dealer board that is sponsored by a brand. Chances are that a sponsored outlet will enhance the image of the outlet when compared to an unnamed one.

The store keepers could also learn the importance of combo offers. If 85 per cent of a large retailer’s sales can come through combos, a small seller could sell a small combo offer as well. By increasing his throughput, he could possibly increase his revenue and profit, despite selling at lower costs.

Another example is how they could manage their inventory better by simply using the 80-20 principle, which requires them to proportionately invest in inventory of higher selling items. These being the broader examples, essentially, the four key parameters that are looked at under Parivartan E&D are:

  • The hygiene part of the business, where cleanliness of an outlet ends up becoming a decision point for customers.
  • Customer experience, wherein a good, clean outlet along with courteous behaviour from the storekeepers makes a customer step in, and come back to the place.
  • Activation of the outlet is important in order to keep the store as attractive as possible to bring in more customers
  • Managing money, since that’s what the business is all about.

The learnings not only come from the trainers, but from interaction amongst the participants as well. Parivartan E&D, in a way, has become a platform where learning is coupled with mutual exchange of ideas between smaller businesses, who are achieving heights in their own rights.