Banerjee and Utsav Basu, Millennium Post
Delhi, 27 September 2015
cafes, restaurants and delivery joints are slowly but steadily
creating a whole new culture in the Capital.
A food capital as it already is, Delhi is a labyrinth of connections
that interlinks one neighbourhood to another and most importantly,
migration has been a steady theme in this city giving rise to
an array of preferences and predilections. So, do we consider
it to be a fortunate adventure? Give in to the indulgence and
find out for yourself.
These days, professionals are either working through the night
or are awake watching movies, TV shows or partying hard. Since
they are up at odd hours, they often feel hungry much after restaurants
close - like midnight snacks and beverages or are in need of other
essentials like medicines as well.
There are a number of outlets indulging in this business these
days. But what is interesting is the fact that these outlets are
not evenly spaced out all over the national Capital. Enviably
so, these 24x7 outlets are concentrated in particular areas like
Gurgaon and South Delhi respectively. Some of the most popular
midnight delivery services are Batman Delivers, Midnight Munchies,
The Night Shift, Cravebusters, Midnight Cravings, Captain Grub
and the like.
You can order the best of biryanis, kathi rolls, salads, sandwiches,
pastas, pizzas and even paranthas from Batman Delivers, apart
from party items and medical essentials, cigarettes, tissue papers
and disposable plates/cups. They deliver in Gurgaon and South
Delhi but you have to pay a delivery charge of Rs 50 with an approximate
delivery time of 40 minutes.
Midnight Munchies operates in South Delhi and offers delicious
vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals like pizzas, noodles, wedges,
nuggets and chicken bomber sandwiches, along with soft drinks,
juice and packaged water. They do not have any delivery charges
but the minimum order has to be upto Rs 350. Cravebusters is a
popular late night delivery service, operating in 130 localities
in Delhi NCR and promises hot and delicious food every time. Known
for their unbeatable burgers, Captain Grub functions in South
Delhi and Gurgaon only. Midnight Cravings is located at Vikas
Marg and delivers around East Delhi.
These are just a few examples which show the concentration of
24x7 food outlets only in Gurgaon and South Delhi. Keeping this
in mind, it has become very important to understand the reason
why they are spaced out the way they are and what business orientations
the owners have that have encouraged them to open such outlets
in these respective areas only.
Sangeeta Singh, Head of Street Food Programmes, National Association
of Street Vendors of India (NASVI), explains: As far as
I understand, South Delhi is considered to be a very posh area
and has a history of its own. Most people residing there are bureaucrats
and businessmen who have a very rich background. East Delhi or
the Trans Yamuna as it is called was never a good choice in the
1970s and 1980s for residential purposes.
Elaborating on how the different strata of society are spaced
out in the national Capital, she goes on to say: Delhi being
the capital attracts people across India for a better future.
The city has very good mix of working class, educated and un-educated
business class, landlords comprising the local Gujjars and Jats,
migrant workers (unorganised sector). The social strata of Delhi
have unique characteristics as compared to other Metros or big
cities in India. Old Delhi is dominated by the local business
class, South Delhi by locals as well as educated business class
and bureaucrats; North mostly by the Punjabis, East Delhi is dominated
by migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh while West is again a
mix of Punjabis and migrants.
Prof J S Rajput, Former Director of NCERT, elaborates on how
important social profiling is to run a business. He goes on to
say: Who has not seen young people in their executive suits
and ties, sweating on roadside stalls, grabbing a plate of noodles
working through long hours trying to crack a deal. In business,
it is all about profiling. It is all about making an impression
which will help them start and run a business successfully. Everything
else is secondary.
Highlighting on why there are a lesser number of 24x7 food joints
or essential outlets in East Delhi compared to South Delhi and
Gurgaon, Sangeeta Mittal, Associate Professor, Department of English
in Maharaja Agrasen College, says: There are lesser number
of 24x7 outlets, I think, due to law and order constraints and
lifestyle of lowerandmiddle middle-class in the area. People who
work during the night or require to access groceries or drugstores
after midnight are very few. She tries to reason out the
cause behind the concentration of such food joints in South Delhi
and says: I think the elite class refers to the high income
groups. While some people are those who have been living in South
Delhi since Independence and Partition in what began as refugee
settlements making it big later in life, the rest are those who
shifted after Independence to cash in on the developing political
and professional opportunities in Delhi. Diplomats, NRIs, MNC
workers, government servants and many more today stay there due
to proximity to their workplaces.
Mittal further adds: Delhi has a cyclical demography. People
prefer to live nearby to where they work. They also live where
they are able to afford rent or to purchase property. But more
well-to-do then shift to places with more spacious and luxurious
houses, more sophisticated and safe urban housing options and
locations with more facilities and better urban planning, if these
locations are in peri-urban spaces like Gurgaon, Noida or farmhouses
in what has today become Delhi NCR. The spaces vacated by them
are occupied by the upwardly mobile aspiring migrants who continue
to flock to Delhi for educational or professional reasons.
Devangshu Dutta, head of retail research group, Third Eyesight
says in a report: There is an emerging consumer segment
that works longer hours, especially among the workforce in the
countrys outsourcing and technology industry. There has
to be something catering to them.
Technology and new-age entrepreneurship have changed the face
of food ordering business in India. Today, you can order ingredients
for a Greek salad or have biryani flown from Hyderabad to any
city through apps on your mobile phone or at the click of a mouse.
But in hindsight, it is a developing business and though several
areas need to be incorporated within its ambit, the craze is growing
slowly but steadily. And with that, the need for more 24x7 essential
outlets is increasing by the day.
So, leave alone the physical component of a midnight craving
and stop being overwhelmed by the need. Heres your lip-smacking
delight at 3 am, waiting for you to dig in. Now, whether up for
an exam or watching matches till late night, bored at work or
feeling low and stressed out at the crack of dawn, no need to
introspect for inner peace. Just pick up the phone and order your
favourite meal, for the night is still young!
"There are lesser number of 24x7 outlets, I think, due
to law and order constraints and lifestyle of lower and middle-middle-class
in the area. People who work during the night or require to access
groceries or drugstores after midnight are very few- Sangeeta
Mittal, Associate Professor, English Department, Maharaja Agrasen
"South Delhi is considered to be a very posh area and
has a history of its own. Most people residing there are bureaucrats
and businessmen who have a rich background. East Delhi or Trans
Yamuna as it is called was never a good choice in the 1970s and
1980s for residential purposes - Sangeeta Singh, Head of Street
Food Programmes, National Association of Street Vendors
(Published in Millennium