TajSATS anticipates takeoff: Growth expected to mirror booming aviation industry 

TajSATS, IHCL’s flight kitchen arm, expects a significant 12-14 per cent growth, mirroring India’s surging aviation industry. Increased international airline frequencies in India and domestic growth fueled by Air India’s plans are key drivers, according to CEO Manish Gupta. The company is expanding its footprint with a new facility in Gurgaon next month and exploring micro kitchens in South India. Its future plans include potential expansion in Bhubaneswar and Varanasi, with a focus on QSR and institutional segments.

Also read: Taj SATS to achieve ₹1,000 crore revenue in FY25: IHCL’s MD Puneet Chhatwal

This growth aligns with IHCL’s vision for TajSATS to reach a revenue milestone of ₹1,000 crore in the upcoming fiscal year. TajSATS’ Q3 FY24 revenue was ₹233 crore, a 34 per cent increase year-over-year, significantly contributing to IHCL’s 18 per cent y-o-y growth.

While aviation currently makes up 85 per cent of TajSATS’ business, the company aims for a 20 per cent diversification, as stated by Gupta. This includes expanding its QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) segment to cater to the growing demand for convenience food, particularly in areas with high concentrations of young professionals and office spaces. Brands like Starbucks and serve as inspiration for this expansion.

He said that TajSATS is mainly expecting the growth from the interanional segment, fuelled by the re-entry of airlines like Qantas, American Airlines and Lot Polish into the Indian market. Increased flight frequencies to key cities amplify demand for catering services, providing TajSATS with exciting opportunities to showcase its culinary expertise globally.

To tap into the South Indian institutional catering market especially within the institutional segment, TajSATS is exploring micro kitchens. “Micro kitchens are a good way to enter new markets and test the waters before committing to a full-fledged facility,” said Gupta. These smaller, lower-investment facilities are ideal for testing new markets and offering fresh, quick meals. Bangalore and Chennai are potential target cities, with the final decision depending on factors like real estate availability, customer demand and competition.

Food trends, according to Gupta, are cyclical, mirroring fashion.  Post-COVID, there’s a renewed focus on in-flight dining experiences, with airlines prioritising innovation and upgrades. “Gone are the days of basic meals where airlines are looking to upgrade menus with plant-based options, gourmet ingredients and international flavours, reflecting a shift towards a more adventurous palate,” he said. This focus on innovation is creating exciting opportunities within the industry.

Also read: TajSATS mulls network expansion to drive growth

TajSATS’ longstanding partnership with Air India predates the Tata Group takeover of IHCL.  The collaboration has intensified in recent years, with TajSATS providing extensive support for Air India’s new product development, including R&D, menu design, quality discussions and chef collaboration. “Over the past two years, we have provided extensive support, including contributions to R&D, menu design, quality discussions and collaborating with chefs for product development,” said Gupta.

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