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‘Play From Home’ — Why Homereca is the new Horeca

Shivaji Dasgupta, Managing Director, Inexgro Brand Advisory, writes why marketers must target the home segment, which is the brand new centre for socialising, drinking and eating

Shivaji Dasgupta

Seasoned marketers will be familiar with the idea of Horeca — the abbreviation for hotels, restaurants and cafes. We know by now that this is the segment most crucially affected by the coronavirus crisis as customers are seeking to be gratified at home. Which is exactly why the key stakeholders must concentrate on the Homereca segment — where the home is the brand new centre for socialising, drinking and eating.

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There are several key markers that justify the proliferation of this pattern and the statistics can be verified by the food delivery giants or even the home chef aggregators. Swiggy and Zomato are booming and the fear psychosis caused by the Chinese virus has rendered the brick and mortar restaurants out of business. Even corporate events and weddings are stymied affairs with birthday parties relegated to photo albums or Facebook memories. For many, the safest port of call is the private residence and thus the party scene at large, even for Diwali or Christmas, is destined to move relentlessly indoors. Now quite obviously, there will be an organic growth for cloud kitchens and off-trade liquor but there is a larger opportunity that is awaiting the intelligently courageous.

But at first, we must be cognizant of key customer behaviours during this period of transition, as temporary or sustainable markers of change. The home party is no longer just the annual invitation, instead it is a regular occurrence where the formalities of hosting are gradually diminished. For one, the potluck will be in enormous favour as will be the outsourced home chef meal — thus the vanity of an indigenous creation will succumb to the versatility of the dilettante ensemble. Yet, there will be pressure to recreate the ambience of entertainment, as mood lighting and moody music must perform in a suitable tandem. Play from Home, quite like WFH, will effortlessly develop its codes of engagement, which will define the character of every encounter and provoke the imagination of every appropriate marketer.

Every home in this brand world will thus demand a makeover recipe, wherein the pedestrian settings of the daytime can become the playground of the night time. It can well be modular furniture which changes hues or lighting that dons dimensions or perhaps a speaker setup that is willing to shake a leg. As a logical corollary, the furniture brands must develop this two-in-one range, exactly how the Provogue Lounge held court in Mumbai many decades back. Lighting players must follow suit and develop ranges that can convert a studious setting to an exciting atmosphere. Wall paints must reciprocate such gestures as they develop amplification skills, natural lighting leading to sober sensations while the party requirements invoke the frisky shades. Like concealed lighting, JBL will develop concealed sound which will emerge on call and the marble floors will be devoid of carpets as the conversations get suitably flamboyant.

Wherever possible, the real estate sector may well market the Play From Home zone, which can be the fourth bedroom or a certain section of the house that may be eligible for such makeovers. The fashion apparel brands must curate the Fashion@Home range, which will empower the new-age hostesses to be radiant yet efficient, indeed a new-age sentiment. A notable part of the ensemble will be the footwear, which must be well-heeled but not necessarily high-heeled, in tune with the hospitality duties. Those fellows in the soundproofing business will want to target homes with minors, as the home party is certain to demolish their demeanour. Mask manufacturers will have a field day as well, with colour coordinated protection gear acting as verification shields, which will soon be deposited in custom built parking lots, close enough to the entry doorways.

But the greatest opportunity resides with the core sectors in the Play From Home segment, the F&B characters and their allied agents. The opportunity is ripe for the outsourcers who provide a home closure service, in the form of chefs and servers who are competent and certified safe. Imagine equally a Bar on Tap service, where every imaginable bottle is served as per wish of the guest but charged as per consumed portion or peg. Kitchens of every kind must provide catering aggregation rates for portion servings, with innovations packed in for good measure. Urban Company coming to the party as professional cleaners who will surface whenever the hostess demands and the taxi aggregators available to drop the guest hygienically and safely. Max Hospitals can render yeoman service if they offer Covid-free certification on a rolling basis to all such cadres actively engaged in such services.

In sum, it must be said that the Play From Home scenario, also known as Homereca, is a realistic interpretation of current circumstances. Which does lead to enormous opportunities for businesses currently in duress and thus is a compelling lifeline, when implemented lovingly.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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