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‘HOTREMAI Experium will increase our pan-India reach as well as get new members on board’

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Anil Malhotra, MD, HSMC Asia is the newly elected president of HOTREMAI. Speaking with Akshay Nayak, he underscores the association’s vision for having a strong presence across the country to address the members’ concerns

Recently a lot of chefs have been talking about IOT and smart kitchen equipment? Is the Indian HoReCa segment, both the manufacturers and chefs ready to welcome the trend?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly transforming not only homes but also manufacturing and other asset-heavy industries. A recent report found that using connected devices to predict when a machine needs servicing instead of waiting until it breaks down could reduce maintenance costs by 30 per cent and lead to nearly 70 per cent fewer breakdowns. In HoReCa, the improved efficiencies offered by linking sensors and RFID tags on equipment and stock to cloud-based databases that can be accessed by staff members via mobile apps, could make the difference between success and failure. One of the ways IoT is already being used in foodservice is to improve food safety. This needs to be implemented with due diligence, where the government needs to play a more active role in terms of bringing the correct and immediate implementation of food safety laws. Going down the memory lane – as a student of a Hotel Management at an Austrian hotel school–I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Food Safety Officers are actually called “Lebensmittel Polezei”, which stands for Food Police. A country which takes Food safety seriously must think on these terms.
Indian HoReCa segment is already using IoT technologies such as temperature probes, barcode scanners and RFID infrared readers. The key to success for  Indian HorReCa, wanting to use the IOT to make their operations more connected is to fail fast and move on quickly from mistakes. Suppliers also need to work closely with the chefs to learn from their experiences to achieve results faster, using their expertise in IOT.

What are the key challenges and opportunities faced by the hospitality equipment manufacturers?
The challenges include, not knowing what the hospitality customer wants (There’s a gap between the purchase fraternity and the vendors for HORECA); lack of governmental support for HORECA and lack of platforms that represent the concerns of the HORECA equipment manufacturers. However, the opportunities are bigger with more and more people travelling, going on vacations and eating out. That itself is a big opportunity for the HORECA Industry and in turn the hospitality equipment suppliers.

How does HOTREMAI focus on vendor support and leveraging opportunities, liaison with government, staff training opportunities, etc.?
HOTREMAI is moving ahead in a planned manner to up its role both for the fraternity and its members. We hold associate memberships in bodies like the FICCI, ASSOCHAM and PHD Chambers of Commerce where the governmental interactions are made easy at the association level. HOTREMAI in turn keeps all its members abreast with the happenings and the suggestions from the members are conveyed to the respective bodies so as to enable a two-way communication, directly with a HOTREMAI member. This brings productive results for our industry, especially during budget suggestions and recommends towards other government policies, while being drafted. An individual member on his own cannot get this kind of reach. HOTREMAI extends its support by participating in reputed events in India as well as abroad and negotiate its best in favour of its members.

Is this sector getting any boost from Make in India perspective?
It is basically the manufacturers themselves who are striving to propagate the Make in India – a success. Also with the customs duties being decreased, it hasn’t been of help for the indigenous manufacturers.

What is the vision ahead for HOTREMAI to keep the fraternity connected pan-India?
We’ve been working on growing beyond the northern region and have already scheduled for more regional meets. One such initiative to increase our pan-India reach as well as get new members on board, is HOTREMAI Experium. It would be an intimate networking dinner for the hospitality decision-makers across verticals and the HOTREMAI members. We’ve already planned a three-city tour starting Mid-December covering New Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur.

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