Ever since the Tata group bought the Himalayan mineral water brand last year, Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel and other group properties have made it a point to serve only their own product. But when Indra Nooyi and the board of Pepsico camped at the hotel for the company’s annual group meeting last week, the hotel turned its back on its own. An invisible Pepsi genie went right through the hotel and vanquished every competing brand in sight. So, there was Gatorade (Pepsico’s energy drink) in Taj’s Jiva Spa, and restaurants proudly bought out Aquafina instead of the usual Himalayan. And maybe in an effort to prevent the beverage giant from the sight of Cokes anywhere around them, the hotel closed down Souk, the Lebanese eatery when Nooyi and her colleagues had dinner on November 11.
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The Taj’s deferential bow to PepsiCo