Impact of Indira canteen: Darshinis increase quantity of rice-idli-sambar but Indira canteens rethinking on the composition..

Competition is important.

Did now know or notice that Bangalore Darshinis have increased their quantity of offerings following launch of Indira canteens:

If you thought the idlis on your plate or the portion of rice bath at the neighbourhood darshini have gotten bigger, your mind is not playing tricks on you. Rather, you can thank the nearest Indira Canteen.

The State government’s ambitious new offering — canteens that serve staples at highly subsidised rates — are giving the local darshinis a run for their money. Darshinis are reworking their business model and introducing a slew of measures to take on the new ‘competitor’ and retain their regular customers.

Their concern is simple: breakfast costs ₹5 and lunch/dinner ₹10 at the Indira canteens, which is around four times cheaper than what they would cost at a darshini.

Nagaraju Aithal, cashier at Mahalakshmi refreshments in Mahalakshmi Layout, said that they have increased the size of their idlis. “We do not want to reduce the price of our food. So, we are increasing the quantity so that customers feel there is value for their money,” he said.


Though, within a few days Indira canteens are rethinking on the composition of the offerings:

Indira Canteens -the pocket-friendly eateries launched by the Karnatakagovernment last month -seem to be a big hit among customers, who return to the counter for a second serving of sambar during lunch or dinner. Since the supply of each item in the breakfast, lunch or dinner menu is limited, canteen operators are in a quandary whether to hand out a second serving.

A 10-rupee meal comes with 300gm rice, 150gm sambar and 100gm curd rice, taking the total food weight to 550gm. Operators are not ready to increase the quantity of sambar as it bleeds them. Now, the BBMP is contemplating a 50gm cutback on rice. Visitors are happy about the quantity of rice served at the canteen, but they say sambar is just not enough. When they come back for an extra serving of sambar, canteen staff say `no’ because they have been instructed not to breach the quantity set for each item on the plate. This has often triggered off clashes between customers and canteen operators,” a source in the BBMP said.

BBMP chief engineer (road infrastructure) BS Prahallad, who is the main coordinator for canteens, told TOI: “Canteen operators are not ready to increase the sambar quantity per plate as it costs them more.” So the BBMP’s solution is: Reduce rice quantity to 250gm per plate and increase sambar to 150gm. With this formula, the BBMP need not pay caterers more, he added.

Interesting lessons of microeconomics to see…

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