Serving authentic cuisine from the Royal state of Punjab with a variety of dishes prepared by the recipes of Jiggs Kalra is Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra established in 2007. Zorawar Kalra, Founder and CEO, Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra share the brands’ entrepreneurial journey so far in an interview
Neha Gohil (NG): What inspired you to choose the name ‘Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra’?
Zorawar Kalra (ZK): We serve authentic cuisine from the Royal state of Punjab. The chain serves lot of dishes prepared by the recipes of Jiggs Kalra (one of India's most known food columnists and gastronome) and the brand has also revived many traditional Indian recipes, making Jiggs Kalra, the Signature to the brand. Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra imbibes the use of four types of kebab making techniques - Tandoor, Sighri, Tawa and Kadhai.
NG: Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra is a unique idea of exploring the lavish cuisines of undivided India and hence it only made sense that we named the brand Punjab Grill by Punjab. How did you conceptualise this idea?
ZK: Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra was first established with a vision of serving traditional cuisine from the Punjab Province (India & Pakistan). We have with us vast experience in the hospitality industry and bring to today’s well travelled connoisseurs of food a wide array of innovative dishes which have never been tried in Punjabi Cuisine, coupled with world class standards of service. Over the past three years and seven successful restaurants later, we are proud to say that today we are pitched with some of the finest International hospitality brands. Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra has successfully established itself as serving authentic cuisine from the Undivided Punjab Province, having innovated on traditional Indian recipes and successfully created new dishes, maintaining an international level of hospitality across all locations.
NG: What is the USP of Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra?
ZK: Our biggest USP is that the dishes that we offer have been derived after many years of research on the cuisine, incorporating the authentic flavours of the land. Additionally, we have also innovated and developed new dishes incorporating ingredients such as the Duck, Salmon, etc., which, traditionally is not a part of north Indian cooking. We have retained the essence of the ancient forms of cooking, which had got lost over centuries to development and technology.
NG: When and why did you plan to expand via franchise? How significant is this model for your expansion?
ZK: We have always been open to the franchise route however we were waiting for the opportune moment and the right partner for us to take to this route. Having said that, for further growth and expansion of the brand, we will be exploring both company owned as well as the franchise route; the latter being dependent on the ‘right partner for the right location’. The typical ROIC for Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra are phenomenal with overall capital, and break even usually happens within 18 months and operational break even within the first month of the launch of the restaurant.
NG: Which format does Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra follows? Which is more preferred for the franchising?
ZK: The brand operates in the Standalone and malls format and we do not have any presence in the food court formats for this brand. It is a fine dining brand. As mentioned above, depending on the right partner and location we would explore the franchise route further. We are open to the franchise route; however we are always on the lookout for the right partner who shares the same vision and core brand values. Having said that, we are in the process of finding a balance between company owned and franchised outlets, with company owned locations taking prominence.
NG: Where do you have your presence across India (via franchised and company owned outlets) and how many outlets you have?
ZK: With the launch of our first International venture situated in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore and our recent launch in Bangalore, the brand is present across seven locations in six cities, making us one of the fastest growing brands of Indian Fine Dining restaurants in the country. Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra is located in the following cities in the formats mentioned in front of them:
Singapore (Mall, Franchise), Bengaluru (Standalone, Franchise), Mumbai - Juhu (Standalone, Company Owned), Mumbai - Palladium (Mall, Company Owned), New Delhi (Mall, Company Owned), Gurgaon (Mall, Company Owned), and Chandigarh (Standalone, Company Owned).
NG: What requisites you prefer in a prospective franchisee? What is your preference in terms of area and investment?
ZK: For the franchised model, Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra operates on a Management contract basis where the investment in the restaurant is borne by the franchisee, in a way removing the headache of managing and operating the restaurant for the franchisee. We are always on the lookout for prime locations in Tier I cities, with large frontages and high visibility. Depending on the city, the location and the size of the project, the investments usually range between Rs 2.25 crore and can go up to four crore based on the size and area of the location.
NG: What are your further expansion plans (India and Overseas)?
ZK: Within India, we are exploring further expansion and increasing our presence by at least six more restaurants across South, East and West India. Beyond Indian shores, we are exploring further expansion in the South Asian region as well as locations in Europe.
NG: What kind of training and support do you provide to your franchisees?
ZK: Our association with our existing partners is on the lines of a Management contract, where we have our team operating each of the two locations. For all our restaurants, we have a rigorous training programme that the entire operations staff has to undergo for two to three months before the launch of the restaurant. Post the launch, we have regular internal training schedules which are followed to keep all operations staff abreast about the trends in International Hospitality as well as service standards.