Easy, Quick, and healthy Steam-fried Cabbage

Add mustard seeds, sesames, chia seeds, and finger millets (Ragi flour) to 2 teaspoons of warm oil in a pan/w. Once the mustards start spluttering, add two medium spicy green chillies, and grated ginger. Mix it well, and add carrots sliced thin and cabbage cut into long thin strands. Add salt, turmeric, and put the lid on for 2-3 minutes. At this point, add kale and put the lid on without stirring. In 2 minutes, when the kale turns soft and starts sweating, mix it all well. On a medium flame, leave it on the hob for another two to three minutes. Now,  switch off the flame, add a dash of lemon juice and a handful of freshly grated coconut. Put the lid on, and in 5 minutes, your power-packed, healthy quick cabbage curry is ready.

This recipe is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. 

You can also deep fry cabbage, as shown here, by sprinkling chickpea and rice flours on the shredded cabbage by moistening with water, salt and chilli powder.  Or, try this healthy recipe which I made by accident, running out of time and ideas on a hot summer day. 

Restaurant Landscape — Post-Pandemic

Employing digital marketing techniques is a step closer to ensuring a safe dining experience post-Covid

Driving on the deserted roads of once a busy Burnet Road in Austin has not been an easy picture to forget and move on. Covid-19 has turned 2020 into one of the worst years both in terms of economic and people loss. According to Reuters, workers in the leisure and hospitality industry have fared worse than most during the pandemic. With countries stopping travel (domestic and international) and issuing stay-home orders resulting in things as they are, the restaurant industry suffered the most. 

 It’s too late to revive some restaurants and food trucks forced to shut down as soon as the lockdowns were announced. Their inability to swiftly move online and reach out to customers in a contact-free world was the primary reason for this debacle. Survived are those that adapted the relevant technology and made their digital presence prominent. Some companies such as Dominos and Starbucks have posted a marginal profit even in this scenario. 

As can be seen from Figure 1, a survey showed that cooking at home was on a high during the initial days of Covid-19, with goods being delivered at the door or with curbside pickups made easier. After a couple of months, when the fun of trying new recipes and home cooking became tedious, restaurants started doing pick-up or take-out and delivery services. This tedious chore of cooking every single day made people realize what they have been missing. Slowly when restaurants started the dining-in facility with social distancing and extra sanitization in place, customers sighed a relief of normality. 

Figure 1: Eating habits that were observed pre and post-Covid 19 [1] 

With vaccinations in place, these numbers look optimistic. But, unequivocally, the two things that people missed this past year: travel and restaurants

So, are our restaurants better equipped to handle the demand while still following safety measures? CDC has issued guidelines on the no mask policy this week. Does that mean restaurants can go back to complete normality? Considering the phobias and uncertainty around, we can’t conclude the answer may be a complete yes.

 Online interactions have penetrated way deeper into our lives over the past year; consumers prefer virtual interactions, “touchless” contacts– paperless menus, QR codes, online order & payment options, and not to undermine people’s dependence on online reviews! On top of that, retaining customers has become possible only with sales promotion techniques such as coupons, discounts, join-our-app promotions, etc., alongside pampering on their special days and holidays in place. Finding online customers also means tracking and profiling them; personalize and customize their needs with a good user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX), which will embellish a restaurant’s online performance and its CX of the whole process. The bottom line is the businesses that survived the pandemic moved digitally or have been digital.

For a restaurateur, it’s not an easy task to be digital. To manage the digital traffic, feedback and reviews, and to oversee the heavily overcrowded competitive online presence on top of updating menus and maintaining hygiene standards is a tough grind. That’s where the marketing software companies come into the picture, which has been a blessing to the restaurant industry post the Covid-19 pandemic.

 With millennials and Gen Z’s preference to working remotely and dining out becoming prominent, restaurants have to move their menus online. Meal kits and dinner box deliveries have proven that people want daily, healthy meals to be delivered home. Online reviews by authentic users and social media influencers available at no cost are the critical decision-making parameters that sway a prospect to a customer. So, with all the backend engineering and the employment it generates, the restaurant industry can now be considered a primary sector. A successful online presence warrants the need for digital marketing: announcing your presence to the digital world.

Digital marketing is a complicated process of targeting and managing prospects, customers, & advocates. Software companies that manage these restaurant profiles ought to have dedicated professionals working 24×7. As customers’ every move and every silence is tracked by the search engines, more so with ever-evolving digital platforms and new algorithms. This tracking provides the data that feeds a restaurant’s digital process. Reaching customers is a good starting point and could be done via email marketing, content management, presence on relevant social media platforms, and website optimization. With consistency in these initial steps, to be on the top pages of search engines is an arduous ultimate step for the success of any online business. 

As shown in Table 1, customer adoption of digital technologies to order food is rising. Besides these, generating QR codes helps reach customers without being lost in transit.

I did not do this before the pandemic and have not done it since its onset (%)I do this somewhat or much less now than I did before the pandemic’s onset (%)I do this about the same as I did before the pandemic’s onset (%)I do this some or much more than I did before the pandemic’s onset. (%)
Using the phone to call in an order for pickup18.515.724.141.7
Buying food from a restaurant’s website27.814.319.338.6
Using mobile order-ahead to order food from restaurants to eat at home30.313.717.938.1
Ordering food delivery using aggregators such as Grubhub or UberEats49.211.413.126.2

  Table1: Altered activities related to eating food from restaurants [2] 

Digital marketing also incorporates AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques to gauge customer preferences and trends. This automation helps businesses identify any short-comings in their services and address the pain points of their customers and the restaurants, too, improving the dining experience.  

Profiling and targeting prospects require great attention to detail. Is our customer a fitness freak or a vegan or seafood lover? What demographics do they fit? Social media platform statistics show the demographics of their audience: age, gender, location, ethnicity, etc. So, a restaurant’s existence on social media yields dividends in ways that never existed before. Its analytics give precise information about target customers. A digital marketing software company and restaurant business complement each other to be digitally successful and exist in the future. 

With software marketing tools in place, digital marketing bridges the gap between the customers and restaurants. 

Customer Segmentation involves:

  • Demographic Segmentation
  • Psychographic Segmentation
  • Geographic Segmentation
  • Behavioral Segmentation


Digital Marketing targets these customers by:

  • Email Marketing
  • PPC Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • QR Code Generation
  • Feedback Management
  • App Marketing
  • Personalized Marketing
  • SEO Marketing

With the changes in people’s lifestyles, the restaurant industry must embrace digital technologies more so post-pandemic. Consequently, accessibility to design and procure food by the touch of a finger should be ubiquitous. The recent AI trends enabling this digital marketing revolution should help pave the way for the future of any restaurant business, thus making it immune to any future pandemics.

References:

[1] QSR Magazine

https://www.qsrmagazine.com/consumer-trends/restaurants-greatest-competition-post-covid-19-home-cooked-meals 

[2] PYMNTS.com                                                                                                   https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2021/restaurant-habits-in-the-post-covid-future-by-the-numbers/

Happy Women’s Day

Feminism isn’t a threat; it’s a need! Feminism doesn’t mean women being more equal; it represents true equality! Because of many such powerful, thoughtful women, now women can vote and are able to fight to prove their existence. ‘Equality and respect’ is the agenda.


The concept of surname/last name suggests we all are part of patriarchal societies, and in certain cultures, it’s still a struggle for a girl child to enjoy life. And in certain others, it’s a struggle for a female foetus to push her way out of a mother’s womb. It’s also strange that many support female prosperity and empowerment within their families, but not as societies! Me too is just another example of the same global scenario.


I should also remind fellow women to be bold and confident as they are! We don’t need plastic surgeries to be endowed or put makeup on to please others. Every human being looks beautiful with a smile on their face and empathy and love for others.


Anyway, I met a good friend after a gap. She looked brave and beautiful after a double mastectomy in early Jan. Not sure why three out of five I meet in the US have had or been diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to advanced medical research and technology, lives are saved. I’m even prouder of the women who are part of science, technology, self-defense, et al., and role models of exemplary nurture-building progressive societies. Such strong women are an inspiration. We want women to be bold mentally and strong physically. Happy women’s day! 

#womenpower #womensday

Fortune Favours the Brave!

When you cannot go to the pool for a swim, please bring it to your bathroom for a shower.

What a crazy time it has been for Texans!

Lucky we survived it all and be glad that we all learnt more survival skills and exciting tales to reminisce and share. We stuck to our house the entire time. Our house went to as low as -2C, and thanks to Texas Gas service for keeping us alive. Not to underestimate the power of prayers by friends and family that spread the ‘warm’th! In my neighbourgood, at one point only three households had people in them, the rest made it safely (❤) to safe zones! Frozen pool, the possibility of leaking pipes, and having our own shelter above us made us stick here and made it. For about one week with freezing temperatures, we had electricity for about 10 hours until it was restored when the energy company felt we deserve some despite having any ‘critical’ units around us! We are grateful for all your messages, care, and concern that made us feel that we have our backs covered. Have to thank some extraordinary people who shared some boiled water, water cartons, and firewood with us despite being in the same boat. (Sam, Ida, and Aroona ❤) And, to Michael for his guidance wrt our frozen pool. To my CEO for referring hotels to us, Bala’s company and HR are even willing to get us a truck to put us at safety. God’s grace, we didn’t need it all. We struggled and suffered but in a much better position than those who couldn’t relocate and did not have gas service! 

Overall, ‘survival of the fittest and ‘struggle for existence” put to the test and proven!

Here’s our story covered by Decibel, Austin’s Locally Produced Resource for News and Events Presented by Austin PBS, KLRU-TV:

https://decibelatx.org/science-and-technology/a-year-round-problem-winter-storm-outages-underscore-power-issues-for-one/

The Sunrise!

Smashing the obscure thoughts,

Solacing the bustling hearts,

Through the quietude of the Full Moon,

There appeared this glimmer of Hope.

The Sun beamed down, waking the long awake yet forgotten dreams.

Reposed reveries bounce back- Nothing more invigorating than this sunshine that’s flashing through this window!

A happy 2021!