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Beauty & Wellness 2010-06-09

A well groomed franchise

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

The Four Fountains Spa offers unique therapeutic treatments for mind, body, soul and senses. It claims to provide quality spa experience at affordable prices and a perfectly polished business model for framchisees. In a tête-à-tête, Anurag Kedia, Director, The Four Fountains Spa, talks about the wellness of his company.

Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Brief us about the origin, growth and success of The Four Fountains Spa?

Anurag Kedia (AK): The Four Fountains Spa was conceptualised by me, Saurabh Garg and Sunil Rao, as we felt the need for affordable spa therapies in India for upper-middle class. Exposure to spas in countries like Thailand and Italy and in resorts like Club Mahindra added to our interest in starting a spa business.

RK: What inspired you to expand via franchise route?

AK: We spent around three years in fine tuning and perfecting the business model of The Four Fountains Spa. Subsequent to this, we realised that franchising offers the opportunity to expand much faster by providing access to capital and other resources. While we started getting franchise opportunities right from the first year of our operations, we have been very selective in finding the right set of partners to have a mutually beneficial relationship in the long run.

RK: What is the USP of The Four Fountains Spa?

AK: The Four Fountains Spa is India's first chain of affordable spas. We offer a superior quality spa experience at less than half the prices charged by five-star spas. A 60-minute full body massage is usually available at Rs 2,000 in any five-star spas, whereas in The Four Fountains Spa, it is available at Rs 450 (inclusive of taxes) for our members.

Other unique features include our focus on being conveniently located and simplifying the spa experience for our guests by educating them about spa etiquettes and the health benefits of various spa therapies.

RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced in The Four Fountains Spa?

AK: Every department works as per the standard operating procedures, which have been defined by process owners. Key metrics are clearly defined for all processes and measured and rewarded for good performance. The Four Fountains Spa is perhaps one of the first in India to have such an extensive documentation and training processes in every department. This helps us in delivering a high quality and consistent customer experience across all spas.

RK: What kind of background is necessary to secure the franchise of your company?

AK: We like to partner with like-minded people, who are interested in the wellness industry and believe in the growth of this sector. Also, an important criterion is that the franchisee should be willing to let the company manage the operations on his or her behalf. The processes are operationally intensive and are best managed by a larger system, rather than individual franchisees. Hence, our spas are franchisee-owned but company-managed. The franchisee is offered either a fixed return or a minimum guarantee with growth opportunity in the business.

RK: What kind of training and support does a franchisee gets in partnering with your company?

AK: The Four Fountains Spa takes complete end-to-end operational responsibility for the business. The franchisee is responsible for bringing in capital and business development. Apart from managing operations, marketing and projects, staff recruitment and training are completely managed by us on an ongoing basis.

RK: How many franchised spas do you have at the moment? What are your future target locations?

AK: We currently have five franchised spas, two in Pune and one each in Manali, Goa and Aurangabad. We are looking to expand in Mumbai and Bengaluru in the near future. Subsequently, we will enter Delhi and other metros as well.

RK: What challenges did you face while establishing your business? How did you overcome them?

AK: The biggest challenge we faced so far is the shortage of skilled manpower. For this purpose, we have set up an international standard training centre in Mumbai, where all our therapists and staff undergo a three-month training programme before they are put on the job.

RK: Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

AK: Take the plunge and have fun. It is not as difficult as it looks from outside.

RK: What are your future expansion plans?

AK: We are looking to set up seven to eight spas in Mumbai and around five spas in Bengaluru in the current financial year. The response has been extremely encouraging both from the franchisees and the customers.

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