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Hospitality 2010-02-08

Contemporary hospitality at its best

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

Citymax, with the aim of providing contemporary hospitality at affordable prices to the modern travellers has tied up with Gloria Jean’s Coffees and has become the master franchisee for the same. In an interview R. Sunderarajan, President, Citymax India shares the success journey of his company.

Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Share with us the inception of Citymax India?

R.Sunderarajan (RS): It is the first step of the Landmark Group, Dubai to enter into the hospitality and leisure business in India.  The idea behind its inception is to provide travellers premium hospitality at a reasonable price.

RK: What inspired Citymax India to take the master franchise of Gloria Jean’s Coffees?

RS: The Indian consumer has been waiting for an international coffee chain to come to India. We found that Gloria Jean’s Coffees would meet the expectation as a speciality coffee house for perceptive and modern travellers.

RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced in the franchised business?

RS: We have set up a ‘Coffee University’ at our corporate office to assimilate the system and processes, involved in running a successful speciality coffee shop. We have also developed and introduced a food menu that would complement the coffee.

RK: How many outlets do you presently have? What are your future target locations for expansion?

RS: We have recently launched our 10th coffee shop in Powai, Mumbai. We are now targeting new locations such as Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, NCR, Mysore, Cochin, and Coimbatore to expand our presence.

RK: What support and training does a franchisee get when partnering with your company?

RS: Each franchisee will be entitled to training at our Coffee University and operational guidance by our team in order to ensure proper functioning of the franchised outlets.

RK: Have you faced any challenges during the initial phases of your business establishment? If yes, what were they? How did you overcome those challenges?

RS: We faced certain challenges while trying to understand the critical factors of running a speciality coffee house like Gloria Jean’s Coffees. In order to bring consistency in quality of the coffee and the guest relationship, we have tailored our training system and made them a part of our culture.

RK: Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

RS: Franchising holds great promise for someone who believes in it. An entrepreneur should have the passion to succeed in whatever s/he does.

RK: What are the company’s future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?

RS: We are planning to open 100 stores by 2013 which will have a mix of both company owned and company operated stores as well as franchised stores.

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