Vithal Kamats, came into existence in 1948 with the vision to be the largest premium trusted vegetarian family restaurant chain. Vithal Kamat, CMD, Vithal Kamats - The Original Family Restaurant elaborates on, how the food chain has fulfilled the vision, imagined initially.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Shed some light on the inception of Vithal Kamats?
Vithal Kamat (VK): Vithal Kamats was started by my father in 1948 and I joined the company 40 years back, in 1970. Initially, it was a south India chain but now we have added vegetarian northern cuisines to our menu. We are the largest chain of hotels and family restaurants in the world. The best part is that we have our own colleges, our own training centres.
RK: When did the company start franchising? What inspired the company to take the franchise route?
VK: We have started franchising from the past two years only. It is the sheer demand for our food that encouraged the company to opt for franchising. People are interested in being a part of our company by taking up its franchise. Earlier, the franchise laws in India were not conducive, people hardly knew about franchising. But with the rising significance of brand names, the acceptance of franchising has grown a lot, thus making it the best way to expand your business to wide geographies.
RK: What is the eligibility criterion for selecting the franchisees for your company?
VK: We provide a form to our prospective franchisees with all the questions that are structured on the basis of the required parameters. Then the location for the restaurant is analysed and if found suitable then we let the franchisees to get started with our experience. The franchisee is required to investment Rs 10 lakh onwards to start the franchise business, depending on the area.
RK: What kind of support and training a franchisee gets when partnering with you?
VK: We provide our franchisees with all the raw material, the business strategies of ours, and help them in the purchase of the equipments, furniture and so on. We also help our franchisees in recruiting the staff and manager. We also train the staff and the franchisee in managing the franchise business, marketing the brand at the local level and so on.
RK: How many franchised restaurants the company is presently have?
VK: The company is presently operating through 62 franchised restaurants under three models, which are Vithal Kamats Restaurants, Vithal Kamats Fast Food, and Khao Jao. The restaurant chain is spread across multiple states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Orissa.
RK: Any advice for the aspiring entrepreneurs?
VK: The advice is to work hard. I have always believed that one should use his/her sweat as his/her own perfume because nobody else can produce that.
RK: What are your future plans in terms of franchising?
VK: We are planning to open 120 franchised restaurants across the nation in the next two years. The company opens around eight to 12 restaurants on monthly basis throughout the nation.