Food and Beverage Jun, 03 2010

Dig up a delicious deal

By Ramanjit Kaur
Dig up a delicious deal

A well-known name in the hospitality industry,Nirula’s, had recently introduced a delightful range of western bites with Indian flavours. It is now keen to spread its distinctive and unique ‘desi’ taste all across the country. In an interview, Samir Kuckreja, CEO, Nirula’s, share his company’s future plans.

Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Please shed some light on the origin, growth and success of Nirula’s?

Samir Kuckreja (SK): Nirula’s had a small beginning. The chain’s foundation was led as ‘Hotel India’ in 1934 at Connaught Place with 12 rooms, a restaurant and a bar licence. Since June 2006, when I took over Nirula’s, the brand has been on an aggressive expansion spree and undergone extensive revamp. It includes refurbishment of outlets, fresh branding standards, cuisine innovations, identifying new locations, etc.

RK: What inspired Nirula’s to take up the franchise route to expand the business in India?

SK: We took the franchise route to provide medium/small sized business entities an opportunity to encash upon the popularity of Nirula’s brand by setting up and operating restaurants under the Nirula’s brand name. Typically, we enter into territorial franchise arrangements with companies that have a sound financial background and preferably, domain expertise in hospitality.

RK: What are the various formats that the company is using to expand through franchising?

SK: Nirula’s has both individual and regional franchisees. Two years ago, we had partnered with our first regional franchisee in Rajasthan and opened the first restaurant in Jaipur. Nirula’s will continue to expand organically and through new outlets in both existing and new territories and set up flagship stores in strategic markets.

RK: What is the USP of Nirula’s? How it is different from other players in the sector?

SK: The variety and choices available at Nirula’s have always driven consensus decision-making. In our effort to offer consumers relevant and meaningful variety, we periodically streamline and rationalise our menu to bring focus and improve the product quality. Ice creams have always been our strength and have driven equity and differentiation for the brand. More importantly, Nirula’s menu comprises key signature products like Hot Chocolate Fudge, Big Boy Burger, Mahaburger, Mutton Sausage Pizza and the Nutty Buddy ice cream, which are unique, iconic and drive repeat customer visits.

RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting franchisees?

SK: To get the benefits that Nirula’s offers, the franchisee should satisfy the following mandatory criteria:

  • The applicant should be an enterprise or an individual who is ready to form a company.
  • The company must have a good financial track record and in case of the individual, he/she should have a sound financial background.
  • The franchisee should have the ability to meet financial obligations of setting up, running and promoting the hotels and food outlets.
  • Preferably, he should have an experience in the food business and hotels.
  • Strong commitment towards managing Nirula’s hotels and food outlets.
  • Ability to procure commercial viable sites for hotels and food outlets.
  • Strong local network in government, business and financial circle in territory where hotels or outlets are to be opened.

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

SK: Franchising is the next big area of growth for Nirula’s. At present, we have a number of franchisees to whom we provide training, product and marketing support in setting up and successfully running their restaurants which include:

  • Approving sites for restaurants and providing/recommending qualified architects, designers, consultants and vendors.
  • Support in project planning, finalising technical requirements and sourcing equipment.
  • Defining designing norms and equipment specifications for setting up of restaurants.
  • Defining HR policies, assisting in procurement, training and inducting human resources for restaurants’ operation.
  • Conducting periodical reviews of the business, audit and recommending business promotion plans.
  • Defining operational guidelines for the operation of the franchised restaurants.
  • Support in sales, marketing and business promotion activities.

RK: How many franchised outlets do you have and what are your target locations?

SK: Presently, Nirula’s has 75 outlets in seven cities across Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. We have recently opened in Indore and at the Mumbai domestic airport. Later this month, we will open in Mussoorie and are in discussions with potential franchise partners to open more franchised outlets in Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa.

RK: What latest strategy Nirula’s has adopted to boost its profits?

SK: The company has recently launched a delightful range of western bites with Indian flavours. It is now enthusiastic to spread its distinctive and unique ‘desi’ taste across its restaurants in India.

RK: Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

SK: The concept of entrepreneurship plays an important role in any economy, which further helps build a dynamic society. At present, the world is changing tremendously and it has become vital for young entrepreneurs to update and sharpen their knowledge constantly. The trends which these entrepreneurs are exposed to would help them build up their own personalities for the rest of their lifetime. Hence, it is important to have a learner’s attitude and find opportunities to create new ideas for the businesses to grow and be a change for the future.

Related: Hot profits with tasty food franchise

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