So on Sunday morning when I went to Reliance Fresh down the road I saw this guy who runs a vegetable store nearby frantically running between shelves, stocking up huge quantities of fresh vegetables. If this were a government store, and if this were license-permit raj, we could have said that this guy was hoarding vegetables.
While this explained why you seldom get fresh stuff at Reliance Fresh later in the day, it made me wonder if Reliance Retail is actually a retail operation. Given the amount of vegetables that this retailer was buying it seemed like it was more profitable for him to walk down the road and source the stuff from Reliance Fresh, rather than traveling a few kilometres down the nearby KR Road to source from the city market.
So thinking about it, this is probably reliance fresh’s strategy. Apart from selling to retail customers, they also make money out of supplying to nearby retailers, who take advantage of the lower prices at Reliance Fresh in order to make a margin for themselves and avoid the long trudge to the wholesale market.
I’m sure Reliance Fresh doesn’t particularly have a problem with the deal, except that they might lose out on customers who know about the poor quality of vegetables one gets there in the evening and so decide to not shop there for other groceries also. Customers know when to get good stuff so they don’t mind. The retailers obviously don’t have a problem.
Neat, ain’t it?
Ok this is a post that has been delayed by about a couple of weeks. One of those things that has been in my head now for a while so writing it. So some two or three Sundays back (more likely to be two) I went to the famous CTR in Malleswaram for breakfast. For the first time ever. Yeah I now it’s supposed to be a classic place and all that but it’s only now that I’m getting acquainted with north/west parts of Bangalore so had completely missed out on this so far.
So as per what several people had told me at various points of time in life, the Masala Dosa at CTR was brilliant. Unparalleled. The difference between CTR and Vidyarthi Bhavan is that the former makes masala dosa just the way that other restaurants do, but only much better and tastier. The dosa at Vidyarthi Bhavan is a different animal altogether and am told the has very different composition to what is made in other restaurants.
There is another important difference between CTR and Vidyarthi Bhavan and thats in terms of service and crowd management. Vidyarthi Bhavan does an excellent job in this regard, striving to “rotate table covers” as quickly as possible. Within moments of you taking your seat, your order gets taken, the dosa arrives, as does the bill and a look from the waiter asking you what the fuck you are doing there considering you have finished your tiffin. Extremely efficient from the point of view of the restaurant (in terms of maximizing capacity) and for customers looking for a quick dosa, but not so from the point of view of people who want to linger for a while and chat.
Unfortunately the one time I’ve been to CTR (2 sundays back) I was in a bit of a hurry since I had to go attend a quiz. Maybe the intention of the restaurant is to allow customers to sit for a while and chat up, but I don’t know if you can actually do that since at any given point of time (reports might be biased since this was a Sunday morning, 9am) there are four people waiting for you to leave so that they can grab your seat. This large crowd that is in waiting is also I think a result of slow service at the restaurant (simple queuing theory – for a given arrival rate, the slower the service rate, the more the average queue length).
There were some simple tasks in which CTR didn’t do so well. For example, making a customer wait for ten minutes before you take his order is not only ten minutes wasted for him, it is also ten minutes of absolutely unproductive “table time” – something that a fast food place like this can’t really afford. And then the ordered items also took a long time to arrive (again, most people at CTR have the same order – one “masaal” so I do hope the make dosas “to stock”) – but then their kitchen capacity may not match up to the capacity of the seating area (which isn’t too much). You pay bill at the table itself rather than at the counter which means you sit there for even longer. And so forth.
This post is supposed to be a part of this series that I was writing some four years back examining the Supply Chain practices and delivery models at various fast food restaurants in Bangalore. I have only one observation with respect to CTR and based on that I don’t give it very high marks in terms of supply chain and delivery efficiency. However, the dosa there is so awesome that I’m sure that I’ll brave the crowds and go there more often and might be able to make better observations about the process.
So in the wee hours of this Sunday morning I’ll be off to New York for a work trip. I’ll be there for three weeks which includes one normal weekend and one long 3day weeknd. Since this is my first ever trip to the other side of the atlantic I’m really excited.
- I’ll be living in Lower Manhattan (place called Battery Park) and my office is supposed to be 10 minutes walk away. I hope to make as good use as possible of this trip, and hopefully I’ll have fun.
- If any of you is in or around NYC and want to meet, let me know. Apart from the weekends, we can meet up on weekday evenings also
- Put gyaan on places to see, visit, eat, drink, experience, etc. My aim on the trip is to put as little NED as possible and try and maximize fun
- I want to shop also. Lots of things. Let me know what things are worth buying in New York, and places to buy them.
- I plan to buy a DSLR camera. Talking to people about it, I’m looking for a Nikon D90/Canon 50D with the kit lens. Further lens purchases will be made later. Tell me where I can buy it. People have already suggested B & H in NYC. Any other places? And since i’m there for 3 weeks i suppose I can order online also.
Was thinking about this at office today while I was printing out my tickets, acco details, etc. Insanely kicked I am about this trip. Looking forward to having a good time.