Takeaway orders at Indian Restaurants around the country have run hot since lockdown ended – and restaurants are urging Kiwis to break out and try something other than butter chicken.
More than 40,000 curries were ordered on food delivery platform Menulog since lockdown ended with Indian restaurants such as Bolliwood in Auckland’s Blockhouse Bay and Own Masala in Tauranga saying demand recovered quickly to pre-COVID levels as Kiwis craved warm, comforting food.
Butter Chicken is by far the most popular curry ordered on Menulog with one Gisborne restaurant selling over 1300 butter chickens since lockdown ended.
The Butter Chicken obsession has led restaurants to recommend Kiwis step outside their comfort zone and open their minds to all Indian food has to offer.
Other key curry findings include:
– Over 40,000 curries have been ordered on Menulog since lockdown ended
– The top five most ordered dishes through Menulog since lockdown were all butter chicken
– Butter chicken is the most popular dish in Auckland, Christchurch and Tauranga
– More than 160,000 curries were ordered throughout NZ on Menulog in 2019
– Lockdown has barely hindered the curry obsession with orders for Indian food not far off the same time last year
Assistant manager of Bolliwood Xpress, Anjali Bisht says Kiwi’s obsession with curry shone through when it started receiving calls during lockdown from customers asking the restaurant to open.
“The day we reopened was crazy for us, people clearly had a craving for curry and butter chicken is always the best seller but it’s time people started to sample a broader range of Indian food.
“There is a huge range of curries and spices in Indian food so there’s always new flavours to try, and if you want to take a small step into something new, we definitely recommend trying out a Chicken Tikka Masala or a Lamb Rogan Josh.”
Bisht says around 40 to 50% of the restaurant’s orders come through Menulog.
“Menulog provided us with the systems for contact-free orders and delivery needed after lockdown, it really helped our restaurant recover as well as supporting us to continue to grow our business for the future.”
The obsession with butter chicken led Bolliwood Xpress to create two versions of the dish for its menu.
“We make a Kiwi style and a Delhi style butter chicken to accommodate both palates. The Kiwi style is much sweeter, while the Delhi style uses different Indian spices”.
Sita Aryal, owner of Own Masala Restaurant in Tauranga, says Indian food is special because there are many different flavours.
“Every dish is different and there is a curry for everyone, no matter their taste,” he says
“The secret to making a delicious curry is ensuring every aspect of the meal is top notch quality.
“Every Indian restaurant will use different cooking tricks and techniques to create their curries. At Own Masala we only use high quality ingredients for everything in the dish – right down to the cashews and the tomato paste.”
Aryal says after lockdown was a very busy time for Own Masala which helped it get back up and running successfully.
Morten Belling, Managing Director at Menulog NZ, says the sheer amount of curries ordered on the platform since lockdown ended demonstrates the love Kiwis have for takeaways, particularly Indian food.
“We placed significant emphasis on helping restaurants recover during these difficult times and look forward to providing continued support to New Zealand businesses. We’ve always seen a strong demand for Indian cuisine and are pleased people are continuing to support their favourite restaurants,” he says.
Menulog recently changed its branding from green to orange to align the company with the global Just Eat Takeaway.com Group, bringing significant opportunity to deliver benefits for New Zealand customers and restaurant partners.
The refresh signals an important step for the business by reaffirming its commitment to the New Zealand market and helping grow order demand for restaurant partners and expanding the brand’s regional footprint.
As part of the ongoing expansion, Menulog will continue to invest in local communities and supporting businesses, pledging $500,000 towards growing its customer database and increasing restaurant demand.