The Indian restaurant industry employed 7.3 million people in 2018-19. The organised food service sector, which is only 35 per cent the total market, contributed Rs 18,000 crore in taxes in 2018-19. The number is expected to more than double if the unorganised sector becomes organised, according to National Restaurant Association of India president Rahul Singh.

Singh was speaking at the release of NRAI India Food Services Report 2019 on Thursday.

He said, “Indian food service industry is the largest service sector in India after retail and insurance and is 20 times of the film industry, 4.7 times of hotels and 1.5 times of the pharmaceutical sector.”

Releasing the fourth edition of the report, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “The Food Service industry is evolving rapidly with India being the youngest country with internet and tech-savvy consumer base, having a high disposable income with little time to cook indoors. This is reflected in the number of eating out frequency – an average of 6.6 per month in the country, providing food service players an exciting opportunity to expand.”

Stating that India is the 7th largest travel and tourism economy in the world according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Kant added: “Globally, food businesses are being promoted to boost tourism. A similar effort can be implemented in India capitalising on the diversity that the country has to offer. Food hubs, envisaged as experience centers can serve as places for experiencing local and regional cuisines as part of a larger culture.”

According to a statement, NRAI IFSR 2019 estimates Indian food service industry’s market size at Rs 4,23,865 crore in 2018-19, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9 per cent to reach Rs 5,99,782 crore by 2022-23. While the food services industry has seen a steady growth over the last three years, the report says the industry has its fair share of roadblocks and challenges like high real estate and manpower costs, inadequate supply chain infrastructure, financing issues and majorly policy formulation. The main aim is to aid entrepreneurs and investors take informed decisions and unite the industry under one banner.

The report carries detailed compilation of data on the industry after interacting with more than 130 restaurant CEOs and 3500 consumers across 24 cities in India.

Samir Kuckreja of the NRAI said the report was crucial for the industry to garner the necessary support and recognition from the government and its agencies to provide a fillip for consistent and sustained growth.