To satiate demand for burgers in India, CybizCorp brought US- based burger giant, Carl’s Jr. known for its chargrilled burgers via the Master Franchisee route. Here we bring Sana Chopra, Executive Director, Carl’s Jr. India to share some industry insights.
What prompted you to take Master Franchise of Carl’s Jr.?
When my father and I were looking to bring a food & beverage brand through CybizCorp into India, we looked at several different food & beverage chains. We travelled to different headquarters across the globe, met their company figure heads, learnt about the different brands, visited their kitchens etc. At the end of all the research, the Carl’s Jr. brand just stood out to us, and in so many different ways. The brand’s focus of premium quality ingredients and food, the strong quality assurance team, the brand mottos, ethos and of course, the quirky advertising, etc made us take its franchise. Carl’s Jr. is a pioneer in the burger industry that serves real ice-cream milkshakes, jalapeno burgers or low-carb lettuce wrap burgers. We loved how Carl’s Jr. was innovative and continuously striving to make the experience a healthy one.
Tells us about your presence and expansion plans in India.
Currently, the brand’s flagship restaurant is in Southern Park, behind Select Citywalk Mall Complex, New Delhi but it aims to expand in the Delhi- NCR region initially, followed by Chandigarh and other cities in Punjab. In the later phase, it will move onto Mumbai and West India, and also Bangalore and other cities in the South.
What are the key reasons behind the growth of QSR industry?
The significant shifts in income and increase in discretionary spending is driving the demand for organised F&B outlets. With the advent of globalisation, digitisation, corporatisation, today we Indians are more aware of what we want to eat, we are well aware of varieties and most importantly in the need of convenience and time saving benefits. Rise in income levels, higher spending and consumption patterns along with eating out as a regular recreational activity are reasons that are driving the QSR industry.
What kind of a business opportunity your brand is offering to young entrepreneurs? How will you support and train your franchisees?
Carl’s Jr. proposes to offer several opportunities to entrepreneurs. The intent is to follow the FOCO model in which the sub-franchisee would invest in the business but Cybiz would operate the restaurant thereby ensuring that there is no dilution in brand values, standards, processes and quality. Under exceptional circumstances where the franchise is given as a multiple-unit sub-franchise with a specific development quota, the company would allow FOFO model wherein extensive training would be given to the sub-franchisee and its team in India and overseas so as to impart necessary skill sets so that they can independently run their franchise under close supervision of Cybiz. At Carl’s Jr., we strongly leverage social media marketing channels and PR campaigns to create a buzz in the market. Institutional and corporate tie ups also help spread the word about the brand at the highest level.
Elaborate on the criteria for selecting your business partners (franchisees).
To be a successful entrepreneur, one needs to be passionate and have the will to succeed to achieve any vision. We look for entrepreneurs who are passionate towards starting their own business. Our team works very closely in taking care of various aspects of the business, like their training etc. to help them set a base for their operations followed by an on-going support in their day to day operations. For Carl’s Jr., we seek entrepreneurs who have either substantial investment capacity or a premium space with high target customer footfall, along with the expertise and passion for the QSR industry
What all marketing research do you do before opening your restaurant?
An immense amount of marketing research goes into bringing in a new brand to a new country or even a city. Social listening allows you to check if there is any buzz around the brand already and if the nature is positive. We conducted focus group who tasted our food and gave us constructive feedback. On the basis of the said feedback and a lot of other comprehensive research and development, we came out with the menu we have today. Going into new markets or new areas in an established market- similar listening, observing and questioning is important.
What is the preferred business model for your brand’s expansion and why?
Initially, all the outlets will work on COCO model i.e. company owned and company operated but later we will venture into FOCO i.e.franchise owned and company operated. Eventually, we will also award FOFOs i.e. franchise owned and franchise operated to large multi-unit sub franchises.
With the amount of research and development done to build the menu, adapt and or develop processes and ultimately replicate the brand in India, an Operator or Master Franchise learns the business inside out. We want to be able to build the brand as much through a COCO model, and then slowly release first, ownership responsibilities, and then ownership and operational responsibilities. Larger, multi-unit sub franchise will have the resources to systematise their processes and stay true to the brand. So in a lower involvement model, Carl's Jr. would be able to maintain its standards.
How is franchising re-shaping the Indian business?
The entrepreneurial drive of young entrepreneurs in India has made franchising as one of the preferred business models. A well defined operating structure with unique concepts and value of a brand attracts a lot of investors. Franchising is allowing replication of successful business models across the globe. It is creating opportunities for growing the economy as well as creating employment. There in longevity in businesses because these are tried and tested, trusted and recognised businesses.
Three biggest challenges to run a restaurant.
1.Ensuring customer satisfaction on each transaction: ensuring that every guest leaves with a bigger smile on their face than when they came in.
2.Continously selling value for money products with super star service: Ensuring that the guest leaves thinking that the food was value for money and the service was of superior quality
3.Maintaining standardisation and quality controls: Ensuring that standardisation is maintained within the restaurant and among franchisees as well, with all the quality controls in place.