Preet is an F&B brand conceptualizer, independent culinary tourism strategist & food curator for events, destinations, and food courts with more than 8 years experience of working in the hospitality industry. She has made a name for herself in the industry by creating concepts and strategies for multiple restaurants, bars, cafes, and food retail businesses. She is one of the culinary tourism consultants for the ESP Culinary Consulting board. She has also published multiple articles in various F&B magazines and portals.
Being an ardent traveler and with two Masters degrees in Marketing and World Food Cultures and Mobility respectively, she realized the need for food curation in the events industry. That’s when Preet co-founded the Gourmet Tales Co, a food experience curation company. Since then she has curated some of the biggest festivals and events in India like the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, YouTube Fanfest, Filmfare awards, and Mahindra Blues. Gourmet Tales is also India’s first Food Curation company to be curating the food zone of an international event in Dubai event – Oktoberfest Dubai.
Her passion for marketing tied in with her love for food has made her expand her network around the world. With operations in both Dubai and India, she has built a community of more than 250 F&B brands across two continents. Her mission has been to spread the culture, pleasure, and sheer joy of food along with helping unique F&B concepts expand and grow in the right markets.
In Conversation with Preet Sanghvi, Co-founder, Gourmet Tales
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Preet Sanghvi, Co-founder, Gourmet Tales shares insights on how the brand has been successful in offering an unparalleled F&B experience at the events and the future landscape of F&B events.
What Goes Behind Conceptualising The Food Zones Of Big Music Festivals
Preet and her team work with a lot of consultants, depending on the kind of projects they get. Their core team is based in Mumbai and expanding in Dubai. For the events, the brand works on a timeline of around two to three months, because a lot of planning goes into the onboarding of the vendors, doing the analysis, making the manuals, setting the operations, etc. They have also diversified into their own in-house catering.
Gourmet Tales today boasts a huge network of around 300 F&B brands, retailers, and vendors, on their database, built by carefully researching different concepts they offer and not just their cuisines.
From the specialty to the price factor, there are a lot of elements that have to be kept in mind when it comes to onboarding any food vendor. But at the same time, the theme of the event is also equally important. A music event is completely different from that of a private or corporate event. The company has multiple restaurants, chefs, small retailers, home chefs, food trucks, in its network.
Depending on the concept or theme of the event, the team puts their curation expertise into play. If it’s a music event, like Bacardi Weekender, the requirements and target audience are very different, therefore the kind of spending they do is also different. Gourmet Tales has to carefully think of the kind of brands to bring out there. At the same time, they try their best not to repeat any kind of cuisine, vendor, or even the layout and windows.
After onboarding the vendors, they also have to curate their menus as it has to appeal to the audience and one cannot go for a long menu. These events demand fast serving food, and one has to be conscious of getting the price points right. And that’s where the brand brings in the value, as food curators, to any particular event.
Gourmet Tales works very closely with all the vendors and clients. Preet personally relishes promoting new homegrown concepts, giving the audience a very different feel and experience when it comes to food. The brand aims at bringing in different concepts, different brands, and caters to everything that the client may be looking for.
The Landscape Of Events And Learnings During Covid-19
The Events and F&B industry has been one of the worst-hit by COVID-19. However, Preet says that she and her team took this time to expand their whole network of F&B vendors to prepare for the upcoming events. They’ve also expanded into the curation of destinations, corporate events, and malls. Gourmet Tales has also been consulting their vendors and brands on different growth strategies and helping them grow their business beyond just events.
Talking about the differences and similarities in the F&B space in the UAE, Preet says that a lot of food truck festivals, gardening festivals, restaurant weeks, etc take place in Dubai. However, she feels that the concept of curation is still very new in India. Not a lot of people still understand it.
She adds, “We started off three years ago, and I know how challenging it was for us to explain events or any kind of festivals to even the government. Why is curation needed? Why is food so important? If food is not done well, people will always talk about it”. Preet is hopeful that when India opens up, they can implement similar F&B ideas like the UAE in India as the country is full of scope.
While Preet strongly believes that nothing beats an offline, in-person experience when it comes to an event, she also says that there’s a great scope for digital events with technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) coming in.
Experiential marketing has changed the purpose and construction of the food industry today. Millennials are always looking out for different experiences when it comes to anything. And food, of course, can definitely be tapped into out here. A lot of events are definitely planning to go virtual. There are things like online DIY kits, masterclasses meal and alcohol pairing kits that are picking up right now.
Upcoming Trends In The F&B Market
The food world has experienced a new sense of innovation, taste, and creativity in the past few years, especially in India. It is no longer difficult to find Ethiopian cuisine, Korean cuisine, or even Nordic cuisine in a country like India. A lot of Indian restaurant owners and chefs are creating this cuisine which indicates that the industry is definitely growing.
With a lot of interest in home cooking, food delivery, and health being at the forefront, many consumers are sticking to dining at home, which gives a lot of scope to the restaurateurs to tap the opportunity. Preet also adds that consumers today want to experiment with regional Indian cuisine cuisines such as Gujarati, Malabari, and North-Eastern. The trend of Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine globally is also on a rise.
Another trend that Preet mentions is non-alcoholic beverages. The coffee culture is growing and people are going in for artisanal coffee and teas. Consumers are also preferring fermented drinks like kombucha.
Advice To The Upcoming Restaurant Owners
- If you have a true passion for food, and service, stay true to it. The food industry is definitely not about just making profits. But it is more about the passion and the kind of satisfaction that you get out of the consumer appreciating your food or your service.
- Work in the F&B industry before starting your own venture and it will definitely create a difference.