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.