Saturday, August 20, 2011

The mystery of Saravana Bhavan

Note to my friends living abroad: you are excused if you are a fan of Hotel Saravana Bhavan

Ever tried to find a seat during lunchtime at any of the HSB outlets in Chennai, ac or non ac? The whole experience of having an overpriced meal is unpleasant, that after the ordeal of finding a seat and beginning your meal, you find the next customer standing very near you trying to 'reserve' the seat you are occupying and waiting for you to finish.

On top of that most items are highly priced (for that kind of food) and one unit will never be filling. One can't have a filling meal without shelling out at least 150-200 per head. That doesn't deter scores of people thronging the place, such is the brand value. The only really tasty item to have from HSB is the real fruit ice cream.

Contrasting this with the new chain opened by the well known Shree Krishna Sweets, called Gokulams, they serve tastier food at around 60% of the price but their restaurants are mostly empty. For some reason they are not able transfer their brandname in sweets to their restaurant business.

How does one explain this kind of consumer behaviour? Maybe we must take a relook at the first principle of economics: humans make rational purchase decisions.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The sad aspect of women's reservation

The much touted women's reservation has a major drawback- there is no provision to stop proxy rule. The ward councillor from my hometown constituency is the wife of a politician who would have contested if the ward has not been notified as a ladies only constituency. The husband is the de facto councillor.

The same is the case with many women panchayat president. Similarly, the so called young MPs are sons/daughters from political dynasties. I would like to see more first generation young MPs and real women leaders instead of proxies.