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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Reliance to set up highway diners
By Zubair Ahmed
BBC News, Mumbai

Highway truckers' diner
Dhabas are found on highways across India
Indian industrial giant Reliance has announced plans to set up a chain of highway diners for lorry drivers and well-heeled travellers alike.

Until last week, Reliance Industries was the flagship of the now divided giant Reliance Group.

It will start the diners, known locally as dhabas, on roads across India.

The dhabas, generally run by village entrepreneurs, famously cater home-made food to long distance truck and bus drivers and passengers.

Home-style cooking

Dhabas are ubiquitous Indian diners found on every highway across the country and frequented by truck drivers and travellers.

They are famous for hearty, home-style cooking and are open round-the-clock.

Reliance Industries says it will set up 145 food and lodging outlets across the country.

Trucks on Indian highway
Huge potential seen in highway hospitality

The company says it will have two types of dhabas - the one catering to the truckers will be called A1 Plazas.

The other, aimed at upmarket travellers, will be known as Refresh.

According to a Reliance Industries spokesman, these outlets will be set up on the premises of Reliance fuel outlets on India's national highways.

Huge potential

Reliance Industries will be the first organised private player to enter the roadside eateries and accommodation business.

Highway hospitality in India is currently an unorganised business.

Though some government-run oil companies have air-conditioned food plazas on the highways, they are not spread across the country.

Experts say the entry of Reliance may open the doors for other big players to join a business whose potential has not been tapped.

Also, new six-lane expressways and highways being built in many parts of the country further enhance the opportunities for highway hospitality.

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