The need of renowned cookie players in India motivated Australian Foods to enter the Indian market with Cookie Man. It has rapidly grown to become one of the best cookie brands. Pattabhi Rama Rao, President, Cookie Man, India shares the success story of the company.
AbhaGaryali (AG): Tell us something about the origin, growth and success of Cookie man.
Pattabhi Rama Rao (PRR): Cookie Man Australia was found in 1958. A young man named Kevin Hicks founded the company by selling his fresh baked cookies door-to-door and then opened a shop in Melbourne. The business was so successful that he designed a patented, proprietary oven that allowed him to bake large quantities of home-style cookies right in the shop to meet the growing demand of Australian cookie lovers. Cookie Man Australia entered the Indian market in January 2000 by opening its first shop in Spencer’s Shopping Plaza, Chennai. Today, Cookie Man boasts of over 40 varieties of fresh-baked cookies, 20 varieties of cream-filled and chocolate-coated cookie products etc.
AG: What difference have you noticed in the performance of the company after the company opted for franchising?
PRR: Cookie Man has always operated on a franchisee model and is of the belief that the franchise model has worked very well to help grow the business across India. The franchisees are usually local people who are able to connect with the localites. We currently have 7 franchised outlets.
AG: What is the eligibility criterion for taking the franchisee of your company?
PRR: A franchisee needs to have a hunger for growth and ability to the drive business. The person needs to be a hands-on operator, preferably a woman, as women would have a better ability to connect with our key customer, preferably a housewife. Before a franchisee signs an agreement with Cookie Man, we encourage them to work in the store to help them understand the requirement of a Cookie Man franchise.
AG: In which all countries Cookie Man has its presence?
PRR: In the last five years since we have started franchising, Cookie Man has launched licensed operations in countries including, Chile, Korea, India (Joint-Venture), Greece, Egypt, Israel, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Bahrain and China.
AG: What all training and support do you provide to the franchisees?
PRR: Our franchise format offers an exciting business opportunity where profits are commensurate with efforts put in by the franchisee in terms of hard work coupled with commitment, entrepreneurial skills and a serious desire to succeed.
Cookie Man believes that a franchise arrangement is a long-term partnership and the prime priority is to guide the franchisee in the successful and profitable operation of the business. The Cookie Man team handholds franchisees in both sales and marketing by helping them understand the product and building awareness of the brand.
AG: How much investment is required by an aspiring franchisee in terms of money and time?
PRR: A potential franchisee should be willing to invest between Rs. one million to Rs. Five million and would require a full time effort and be completely dedicated to building the business.
AG: What are company’s future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
PRR: Cookie Man will continue to focus on the franchisee model for expansion and growth. We plan to grow to 300 stores in the next 5 years.
AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by a franchisee in this business? How can they be overcome?
PRR: Getting the right location would be a key challenge, as this determines the growth of the business. Understanding the way the business of food works would be another key challenge, especially for a first time operator. For this, a franchisee has to be commited and dedicated in operating the outlet.