According to a spokesperson at ITC Foods, “What distinguishes Kitchens of India from its competitors is that the recipes are developed by master chefs of renowned restaurants like Bukhara and Dum Pukht (part of the company’s hotel division). With the success of these gourmet restaurants, the company felt the need to extend these delectable dishes to customers who could not visit these restaurants.”
We decided to check out Kitchens of India online to see if it is designed with taste, or if it is yet another bland web experience.
The moment you enter, you are welcomed by the map of India set against a background texture featuring hues of orange and yellow, reminiscent of a bygone era. This “heritage” theme resonates throughout the site, and signifies India’s rich and diverse culinary legacy. Several rulers of India were renowned for their elaborate meal rituals and the repertoire of dishes that they patronized is part of Indian gourmet cuisine.
Since Indian food is slowly finding a global following, the website does well in addressing this target audience through an entire section dedicated to overseas customers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany. The products section is divided into “Domestic” and “Overseas” categories, allowing visitors to browse through the respective sections to learn about product offerings in each country. While contact details are provided for each country, only customers in India and the US can avail the online ordering service.
The two sub-categories, “Store Locator” and “Manufacturing,” do not blend well with the “Products” category. Since the “Store Locator” is a service only available for customers in India, the web designers might want to include this under the domestic category to ensure it doesn’t create confusion while browsing. Also, the “Manufacturing” section might need some finishing touches as it opens up to a random TVC which cannot be heard because of the background music.
The “Products” section offers more than just curry, and visitors can explore the wide range of packaged meals on offer, including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. While each individual product is accompanied by helpful details like serving size and weight, the brand could adapt a few pointers from competitor Tasty Bite, who has a better virtual shelf display and arranges its products by distinct categories like vegetarian, kosher, and vegan.
Also, to help customers who have never tasted the packaged meal, a bestseller list, similar to the one on the Kohinoor Indian Foods website, might serve as a welcome guide. The provision of a calorie chart would also be a value addition, especially for consumers who wish to be aware of their dietary intake.
The site also provides gift ideas, and customers can choose from an array of attractively packaged products. However, it is difficult to comprehend how to place an order for a gift and the whole browsing experience can be as irritating as a long wait in a restaurant.
Given that Indian food is famous for its “masalas” (spices), the website not only adorns each menu button with a different spice, but also provides an overview of these spices under the section “Connoisseur’s Space.” Like neatly arranged spice jars on a kitchen shelf, the content in this section is well organized and educates the web user about the Indian name, flavor, and culinary pertinence of each spice.
If you are hungry for more information, you can visit the “Utensils of India” section, where you can learn about universal kitchenware like the “belan” (rolling pin) and “kadhai” (frying pan) and unique ones like the “handi” (copper vessel), or read the “Glossary” section, which provides an overview of the ingredients used to prepare an Indian meal.
Another informative area of the site is the “Food Guide” section, which outlines tips on Indian cooking and table decoration. While the content is excellent, this section should include some garnishing by way of illustrated instructions.
Typical of most culinary websites, Kitchens of India provides a section on recipes, with a subsection exclusively for festive dishes. Not to sound like a fussy eater, but the designers might want to ensure that the content in this section does not become stale, since the currently featured recipes pertain to festivals in March!
In all, the site lives up to the brand’s tagline, “A feast for the senses.” While the vivid imagery, descriptions, and background music appease our senses of sight and sound, we can leave the rest to the food.