Ajit Dhumal, COO, Indage Restaurants & Leisure
Indage Restaurants and Leisure Ltd owns and operates multiple restaurants, bars and lounges across the country. Looking at franchising as the best option to increase their presence in the country, they are geared up for this franchise journey. In an interview, Ajit Dhumal, COO, Indage Restaurants and Leisure Ltd talks about the franchise plans of the group.
Neha Malhotra (NM): What led to your company’s entry into the Wine Cafe & Bistro business domain, which is a totally new concept?
Ajit Dhumal (AD): In 2005, the company identified that there was a distinct gap in the café market. There were two options available in the market, the existing coffee chains frequented by college students and cafés in hotels.
NM: How Ivy Wine Cafe & Bistro is different from other cafés?
AD: Ivy is different in many ways, as the name suggests; it is a café & bistro. With a wide food menu, Ivy serves a variety of options from pasta to biryani and coffees to wines in beverages. All this in a range of price points, with coffees and wine. A choice of fresh salads, sandwiches, desserts, fresh breads, gourmet foods and a vast range of Indian and international wines. Finally, the cosy ambience with indoor and outdoor seating adds to its charm. With every visit you like it some more – it grows on you!
NM: What was the business background that led to the start of Ivy Wine Cafe & Bistro?
AD: Whilst Indage Restaurants & Leisure Ltd is already in the business of hospitality, being part of the Indage group - the largest wine company in the country, helped add the ‘wine’ part of Ivy.
NM: What led to your company’s foray into franchising? What are your company’s franchise plans?
AD: After opening and operating multiple Ivy joints in and around Mumbai and Pune, it was clear that Ivy was a nationally scalable model. Considering that the concept is standardised, and scalable, the entrepreneurship value that franchisees will bring to this business will only add to the value of this concept. We plan to franchise this model across the country.
NM: What franchise model would you adopt? What are Ivy’s financial and area requirements?
AD: Ivy is looking at individual or territorial franchise models. The franchisees can choose between urban or semi-urban (highway/ rural) models of Ivy.
The total investment ranges between Rs (35 to 60) lakh depending upon the model and size of the outlet. The area required for an urban model is 800 to 1,200 sq. ft, while for a semi-urban model is 3,000+ sq. ft.
NM: How many cafés do you run at present? Which are your target areas for future expansion?
AD: We run 7 Ivy joints at present in Mumbai, Pune, Nasik, Narayangaon and Solapur. All major cities and district places are targets for expansion through company owned and franchised outlets.
NM: What kind of training and support will you offer to the franchisees?
AD: We have a comprehensive training and orientation programme for Ivy’s franchisees.
NM: Can you tell us about the franchise details and expansion of Athena?
AD: Athena, which is a lifestyle Luxury Restaurant-Lounge Bar is present in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The start up cost for Athena in India is around Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore with an ideal size of around 3,000 – 8,000 sq. ft carpet area. The expansion plan is to spread across all metro cities and capital cities of states.
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