Offering scrumptious mughlai cuisine and authentic awadhi food, Bighdey Nawab, a speciality restaurant brand is profitably cashing on food lovers’ gastronomy desires. In an interview, Santosh Kulkarni, Owner of Bighdey Nawab shares the brand’s expansion plans via franchising.
Priyanka Rai (PR): Share with us the inception, growth and success of Bighdey Nawab.
Santosh Kulkarni (SK): Bighdey Nawab was originally started in Pune. As there were already many Punjabi restaurants around, I decided to be different and start Lucknowi cuisine/ Awadhi food which is highly under rated and overshadowed by other Indian cuisines. It was a huge success in Pune and when the lease expired, I decided to base it in Mumbai. Throughout our entrepreneurial journey I have faced many ups and downs that encourage me a lot.
PR: Why did you opt for franchising model for brand’s expansion?
SK: After successfully operating the business for three years and gaining immense popularity in Pune market, I decided to take to the franchising route. I thought Mumbai would be the right place to relocate the concept as it shares excellent connectivity with other cities. Moreover, all franchisees prefer to associate with a brand from a metro city than a tier II city. Also, by then I had gained enough experience, set up the systems and gone through the challenges of establishing a strong concept. I continue to face different types of challenges even today.
PR: What is the USP of Bighdey Nawab that makes it different from other concepts?
SK: We blend our own masalas or spices which give our food the twist and make it lip-smacking delicious. We have two formats takeaway or delivery model and a dining model. We offer our franchisees trained staff or train their staff procured locally by them. We provide our branding and store design. We also confirm vendors for the franchisees raw material purchases and support them as and when required. We have an option of a fixed royalty or a variable royalty to keep the franchisee comfortable. Our franchise fees are only Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for a take away and dining model respectively, of which we give back up to Rs 1 lakh in terms of local advertising and promotions. We can even tailor make a unit to suit the franchisees budgets.
PR: What are the brand’s future plans in terms of expansion via franchising?
SK: We have one company-owned outlet and seven franchise outlets spread across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. We intend to grow by way of franchising at 6 to 8 outlets per year or at 12 to 15 outlets per year in case of venture capital funding.
PR: What strategies have you adopted to deal with the competition in the market?
SK: We come up with new offers, PR activities, introducing new dishes and several other programs depending on the city and location of the outlet.
PR: What according to you is the scope for aspiring franchisees in this business?
SK: The scope for franchisees in this business is tremendous as long as they adhere to certain operating procedures, have patience, not compromise on the quality and follow procedures laid out by the franchisor. If these procedures are followed, the future looks extremely bright for entrepreneurs wanting to enter the field.
PR: What are the qualities and qualifications that you seek for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by them?
SK: We require entrepreneurs with good communication skills, one who can strategise for the betterment of his business, and one who will follow certain procedures and is willing to learn. A franchise unit of a takeaway model requires Rs 17-18 lakh and Rs 25 – 30 lakh for a dining model. These amounts include the franchise fees, shop deposit and working capital for three months. Space requirement for a take away is 300 sq ft carpet and 700-1200 sq ft for a dining model.
PR: Share with us the challenges that can be faced by your franchisees? How can these be overcome?
SK: Staffing and their long term retention is a challenge in itself. One needs to pay them on time, treat them well and yet be firm with them. Sometimes business may not pick up as expected but one have to be resilient and move forward. Maintaining quality and costing is another challenge too. But one can overcome it by increasing sales and creating volume business.