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Café – what consumers are looking for?

Looking for a munch break or a head-calmer window in between hectic office hours or some cool evening gupshup with the partner – the city folk has a common destination at all hours and for all needs of quick refreshment – the cafeteria. A sip and a bite and some unwinding is all that the mind and the heart demands at times, amidst the buzz of life and work. We at Median arranged some quick conversations with café-goers to understand what makes them head to a particular café – the ambience, the food, the service, the pocket pinch or something else altogether.

Sandwiches and wraps seem to rule the chart of food items. However, consumers look for variety in both veg and non-veg items as they look for palatable stuff that offers newness while demanding modest pocket pinch. Consumers have huge number of options in terms of choice in the city, and the proliferation on a daily basis is real. Hence café-goers translate directly to café-hoppers, in case they do not feel satisfied with the fare or the general ambience.

Savory items are mostly preferred. Tikka items in both veg and non-veg dishes are in demand across cafes. Paneer in veg and chicken in non-veg are the star attractions, with lamb catching up in wraps and salads. The young generation of eaters, who are the majority of café-goers, value their health and diet as much as their unwinding, hence the preference for salads and wraps that have generous doses of vegetables and paneer or meat, is marked. Most prefer multigrain or healthier variants of breads as base for their sandwiches. However, cheese items are also in great demand as what’s a delightful savory bite without some oozing cheesy mouthful in pizzas, pastas and sandwiches?

Our survey indicates that there are three major pointers for cafeterias to look upon if they want to satisfy their customer base and lure newer consumers into their fold:

  • The eating experience that includes parameters like reaction after the first bite, flavor and taste, texture, freshness and aftertaste
  • Variety and uniqueness in fare offered, especially in vegetarian dishes
  • Cool and cosy ambience that helps relax and unwind
  • Modest pocket pinch that helps try out more varieties and frequent the café more

While taste and freshness figure as the biggest determinants of an item’s acceptability, café-goers also look for an overall rewarding experience with the meal. This includes their taste-bud evaluation of the food after the first bite and the aftertaste that the item leaves in the mouth post consumption.

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