No market visit was ever complete without a stop at Chache Di Hatti for Chole Bhature, or a spicy serving of kachori dunked in a potato curry at Fateh Kachori, for Chandni Jain, a resident of North Delhi.
But everything stopped abruptly with the lockdown. After what seemed an endless wait, Jain began ordering in but she only called for things she could reheat at home without making a mess of the flavour.
Interestingly, for Jain, and many others, this food they ordered during the lockdown, has continued to provide them assurance even after more options are available now. “Menus have expanded back to original but people are still asking for the same assortment of food items—biryani, pizzas, garlic breadsticks, idly, vada, and cake,” says Delhi-based baker and chef Rakulpreet Kaur.
Psychology at play
When people stopped going to restaurants, restaurants came to them. “They proved their loyalty. The things that people ordered and remained safe after consuming, inspired confidence to reorder, thus creating and recording a ‘good memory’.
It set a pattern, whereby. every time a person thought of their past experience of the food, a happy response was registered and encouraged them to order again,” says Mumbai-based food psychologist Meenal Mirchandani. Once trust develops, it doesn’t matter what you order or how many times.
Chicken Biryani turned out to be one of the most ordered dishes, according to Swiggy’s bi-annual report on ‘what Indians have eaten during the present year’ called StatEATistics: The Quarantine Edition.
A total of 5.5 lakh orders were received for it.
“The dish has always been popular on the platform but it flew off the shelf through the lockdown, and the promising pattern continues to develop,” says Mohit Sardana, COO-Food Delivery, Zomato. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Patna and Mysore ordered it most, he adds.
The lockdown didn’t deter people from celebrating which meant it didn’t stop them from buying cake either.
Home bakers and chefs got busier. People found it easy to place their faith in them. Many of them were known to the customer or came through word of mouth.
Shweta Jain, a chocolatier who runs Adler’s Den in Mumbai, is one such. She baked every day.
Shashwat Bhatt and Jaymin Trivedi, co-founders, Ease Your Life, a Mumbai-based multi-service provider, shared that sweets continued to provide people comfort like it always has, and at a time like this, a slice of dessert seemed an easy way of upping spirits.
“Of the gamut of sweet offerings, cakes were at the top. In fact, we believe people may have been ordering cake more than usual because this gave them a simple way indulging too,” they say.
Also given that birthday parties moved to video calls, the cake-cutting tradition offered a sweet escape. Swiggy delivered nearly 1,20,000 cakes through the period, a spokesperson from the delivery service said.
The Choco Lava cakes from popular QSR chains received close to 129,000 orders from Swiggy alone. At second and third place were Gulab Jamun and Butterscotch Mousse Cake.
Anshul Gupta, co-founder, Mojo Pizza, says they parcelled off six lakh pizzas, adding exponentially to their sales.
There was a surge in the demand for ready-to-eat, instant food, as well as DIY Kits. “A lot of people ordered bread as making round rotis is an ordeal,” says Sardana.
Dal makhani, butter chicken as well as garlic breadsticks were favourites in non-metros. Delhi and NCR, and Mumbai ordered the maximum portions of garlic breadsticks specifically, Chennai ordered Idli- Vada most,” says Sardana.