Turning a service into a product
Way back in 1994 Real Estate prices started going up post liberalization and lot of lazy restaurants gave way to fast food joints, which also included even the simple idli & dosa makers. They upgraded their technologies & served hot idlis, pooris, wadas & other South Indian dishes, in a 500-600 sq ft area. The customer had to stand & eat instead of sitting and leisurely enjoying a breakfast, in short he was eating on the go.
To attract customers food translites were needed, which the owners were trying to get it shot from general studios & get it printed somewhere. The result: Very uninspiring & dull pictures.
One fine day somebody walked into my studio and saw my advertising works & asked me to do some South Indian food shots for his Fast food joint & make some good translites. He also was good enough to suggest to me to explore the market for such a demand. But at the same time we felt that not everyone will be willing to spend on assignment charges as well as devoting time & effort needed for food photography.
That’s when I decided to shoot stock pictures of Dosas, Idlis, Wadas, Upma, burgers, pizzas, etc & approach upcoming restaurants, hotels, bakeries etc for business. Everyone had their own opinion about the pictures. While someone wanted the idlis in a steel plate, another wanted it in a crockery plate, another suggested idlis on banana leaf, yet another wanted 4 instead of 2, someone wanted more varieties of chutneys. The list just went on & on.
If this is the case with idlis, imagine what would happen with other cuisines? But all my fears were just imaginative. When the customers started knowing that I am into Food photography, they started coming in and whatever their special requests were, they were told would be fulfilled in a day or 2. This way we did not end up with dead stock and also started building up a good catalogue of food pictures.
Within a couple of years we had South Indian, North Indian, Chinese, Continental, Bakery items, Ice Creams, Hyderabadi food and lots more.
We had also become good food stylists & knew where to source the best & fresh fruits, vegetables & at what time.
My fame as a good Food translite maker spread far & wide. Even people from abroad came & took translates from me. I also had sales rep working for me on commission basis. I had a full time carpenter working for me to make boxes for people who wanted me to also take up the fabrication of the boxes & display systems.
We did lot of innovative stuff on the display systems too, but that is another story.
In short this is how a service was converted into a product.