Restaurants, pubs, and food delivery and quick commerce platforms expect record business with sales rising 25-35% over a usual weekend day while television brands are struggling to install TVs before the start of the match after a spike in sales in the last one week, several industry executives said.
Companies working on second Saturdays, too, have ensured there is plenty on the table for employees to cheer for Team India while at work. Executives also expect record sales of chips, namkeens, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and pizzas on match day.
Restaurants, hotels and travel companies are going all out to woo customers with games, contests, day-long happy hours and even a special Mumbai-Goa cruise during the match. Patrons at cricketer Virat Kohli’s one8 Commune restaurants in Delhi and Mumbai can get their orders for free by predicting the runs India will score in specific overs. In this game called ‘Power Play’, a narrow miss will still be counted as a hit, and the offer will stand.
Cordelia Cruises will hold a special screening of the match on a cruise sailing from Mumbai to Goa and back on Saturday, said Jurgen Bailom, president and CEO of Waterways Leisure Tourism that operates the cruise ship. “We are operating at an over 85% load factor. Guests can indulge in free-flowing starters and take advantage of happy hours across all bars,” he added.
Restaurant chains have also beefed up their backend to fulfil takeaways and orders booked through food delivery platforms.”We expect a 30-35% surge in delivery business and are preparing for the sudden order surge during meal times,” said Anjan Chatterjee, managing director of Speciality Restaurants that operates fine-dining restaurant chains such as Mainland China and Oh! Calcutta.People are organising house parties to watch the India-Pakistan match, he said.
Parle Products’ senior category head B Krishna Rao said, “As compared to a normal weekend day, sales of namkeens and munchies will surge by at least 50% on Saturday, led by quick commerce platforms.”
And everyone is making sure they don’t run dry.
Swiggy has strengthened its fleet of delivery partners and is working with restaurant partners to ensure good serviceability to cater to an expected surge in orders on Saturday, its vice president and national business head Sidharth Bhakoo said.
Quick commerce companies, which saw their dark stores become nearly empty in categories like packaged snacks by afternoon during the Asia Cup match between India-Pakistan last month, have ensured at least 50-70% higher inventory levels for Saturday than a usual day.
Sales of televisions have increased 30-40% in one week amid heavy discounting on Amazon and Flipkart during their sales, and now companies are flooded with requests from consumers to install the new sets by Saturday afternoon.
“There is absolute chaos as everybody who has bought a TV set in the online sales wants it delivered and installed by Friday,” said Avneet Singh Marwah, chief executive of online-focused TV manufacturer Super Plastronics, which has the licence for brands like Kodak, Thomson and Blaupunkt.
Super Plastronics installed more than 8,000 televisions on Friday – two times more than what it undertook in the previous few days.
Pubs and multiplexes that will screen the match live are reporting heavy bookings.
“The India versus Pakistan game is not just another match. It’s a carnival,” said Faiz Ali Khan, general manager at The Ministry of Beer. Khan is expecting a footfall of over 250 people on Saturday at the outlet in Delhi’s Connaught Place.
Ashish Kapur, promoter of premium bars Whisky Samba and Wine Company, said bookings and reservations at his outlets have peaked out. Saurabh Khanijo, managing director of Kylin chain of restaurants, too, said there are huge bookings for screenings at Kylin Skybar.
Gautam Dutta, co-CEO of multiplex chain PVR-Inox, said thousands of cricket enthusiasts across 40 cities are going to watch the match at the multiplex.
While offices will be mostly closed because it is the second Saturday of the month, some departments like sales and some companies in sectors like ecommerce, startup, real estate, logistics, automobiles and consumer goods will be working as the festive season is round the corner.
Upgrad managing director Mayank Kumar said the edtech unicorn has ordered Team India t-shirts for sales and finance department employees who will be coming into office on the match day, besides arranging large-screen screening and food on the house.
Proptech unicorn NoBroker CEO Amit Agarwal said weekends are typically the busiest times for its business, but the firm will set up big screens and order food so that employees can watch the match in between work.
Logistics technology platform firm Shiprocket is planning a match screening for the customer care and sales team members who will be in office, its HR chief Saumya Khati said.
Most IT, ITeS and consulting firms including HCL Infosystems, Accenture and L&T Technology Services follow a five-day work week, so weekends are off. Even those who may need to work have the option of flexible working, so they can work from home, executives said.
Those who don’t need to work can check out offers at various eateries and bars that screen the match.
At Cafe Delhi Heights in Delhi, customers can get unlimited beer and cocktails for an hour and a half for Rs 999 and Rs 1,199, respectively, said founder Vikrant Batra. The offer would also be applicable in other cities with a minor price variation.
At The Lalit New Delhi, a special menu is being introduced for the World Cup starting Saturday, with dishes ranging from a No Ball Pizza to a Run Out Fish Tikka.
‘Cricketing fever’ and matches like the India-Pakistan clash are always exciting for F&B brands in India because of the fandom and the craze about the sport, said Vivek Dudani, head of events and programming at ‘SOCIAL’ and ‘antiSOCIAL’ restaurant brands of Impresario Hospitality.
At its Mumbai outlet, SOCIAL will have a one-plus-one offer on all beverages till 6 pm on Saturday, he said.
Ajay Gowda, director and owner of Byg Brewski Brewing Co, said his outlet in Bengaluru would be doing a screening of Saturday’s match on LED walls in both indoor and outdoor spaces. “The aim is to create an atmosphere of a real, immersive stadium experience,” he added.