Biryani bonanza: Eid stirs a surge in orders for India's favourite dish

While traditional favourites like biryani, haleem, and samosa continued to dominate the iftar table, Swiggy witnessed a 34% increase in orders between 5:30 to 7 pm during Ramzan.
While traditional favourites like biryani, haleem, and samosa continued to dominate the iftar table, Swiggy witnessed a 34% increase in orders between 5:30 to 7 pm during Ramzan.

Summary

  • People across India ordered about 6 million plates of biryani during Ramzan, which is a 15% increase over regular months, according to an analysis by food delivery platform Swiggy

BENGALURU , NEW DELHI : In Indian cuisine, biryani holds a place of honour, especially during Eid festivities.

Not surprising then that startups and larger hotel chains saw a notable uptick in orders for the fragrant dish in the run-up to Eid, as per an analysis by food delivery platform Swiggy.

Demand for biryani across India saw a 15% increase during Ramzan, with orders totalling around 6 million plates. Hyderabad emerged as a standout, with over a million plates of biryani ordered, alongside 530,000 plates of haleem, a type of stew.

While traditional favourites like biryani, haleem, and samosa continued to dominate the iftar table, Swiggy witnessed a 34% increase in orders between 5:30 pm and 7 pm during Ramzan. The top items ordered nationally for iftar were chicken biryani, mutton haleem, samosa, falooda and kheer, according to Swiggy. Other items such as phirni, malpua and dates also saw an increase in demand, the Swiggy analysis showed.

The analysis tracked data from 12 March to 8 April.

Mint also spoke to a couple of restaurant managers as well as cloud-kitchen operators to capture the on-ground demand for biryani.

"Through the weeks of Ramzan, we saw a 20-25% increase in biryani orders. Today, on the occasion of Eid, we saw almost double the count," Kiran Prasad, founder of Hygiene Big Bite—a cloud kitchen startup, told Mint. "We also introduced haleem during Ramzan and it has seen a fairly decent performance and accounts for 25-30% of our biryani orders." The cloud kitchen is backed by serial entrepreneur Ganesh K., who runs a venture builder platform called GrowthStory that promotes and incubates new initiatives.

Hygiene Bigbite has more than 10 brands including Andhra GunPowder, Biryani Trip, Paratha Envy, Ryu Ramen, and Madras Meal Co.

“We've seen many food trends come and go, but biryani remains special in India because it reflects our deep-rooted cultural heritage and makes it a unifying culinary icon," Divya Aggarwal, chief growth officer at Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt. Ltd, said. During Eid, biryani sales peak, showing how essential it is to our celebrations. And it's not just on Eid day—people love biryani throughout the week after Eid too. “We experienced a significant surge in biryani delivery-only sales during the Eid week as compared to the previous week in 2023, and we're anticipating an even stronger performance this year."

Another cloud-kitchen startup Cure Foods that runs brands like Sharief Bhai Biryani has seen a "remarkable surge in demand" with many outlets operating at full capacity across Bengaluru and Chennai.

“Over the past two days, our online sales through Swiggy and Zomato have skyrocketed, increasing by 150-200%," said Gokul Kandhi, chief business officer of Curefoods. "We strategically focused on a limited selection, primarily centred around perennial favourites such as biryani and kebabs, which accounted for a substantial 90% of our sales." 

Kandhi added that growth has been trending at 350-400%, a 2.5 times increase compared to last year's Ramzan season. "Today, we are witnessing record-breaking single-day figures, surpassing significant milestones at Sharief Bhai," he said.

India's love for biryani has been significant and it is easily one of the most ordered delicacies in the country. This can be seen in Zomato's annual order trends that the company posted in 2023. Last year, Zomato received 10.09 crore biryani orders, surpassing other items such as pizza ( 7.45 crore orders) and noodle bowls (4.55 crore orders).

"The year's biryani orders in 2023 were enough to fill eight Qutub Minars in Delhi, and the pizzas could cover an area of more than five Eden Garden cricket stadiums in Kolkata. Noodles were enough to wrap the circumference of the earth 22 times," Zomato had said in December.

Biryani is a comfort meal for most consumers," said Vishal Jindal, founder & co-CEO of Biryani By Kilo (BBK). The company is backed by the likes of Alpha Wave, SBI, Clear Bridge Ventures and IvyCap Ventures, among others.

Like others, BBK that operates over 100 outlets pan-India as well as sells biryani via food aggregators and its own platform has seen a 5-10% surge in orders this Eid versus a year ago period. The period also coincides with the Indian Premier League that typically sees a surge in ordering in, Jindal explained, adding that the company has been running promotions around the cricket franchise this season. "Typically, we do see a spike in sales during any occasions when larger gatherings take place. Be it New Year, Holi, or Diwali."

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