With a strong belief that excellence and standard speak for themselves in a business, he came to India to exploit the huge potential in the coffee industry. In a candid conversation with Ekta Verma, Nirav Parmar, Founder & CEO, UniqueBrew Café, shares the journey of his venture and its further expansion plans.
How did you conceptualise the business idea of UniqueBrew ?
In 2007, I was employed in the hospitality industry in the United Kingdom. One day the concept of UniqueBrew struck my mind and finally this vision took a material form when I came to India after quitting my job. The response was very promising with people and peers coming to me with accolades for the launch and success of the business. I always believe that it is the excellence and standard that speaks for a business.
Shed some light on your entrepreneurial journey.
There came a point in my career when I finally decided to take the leap towards pursuing a business rather than sticking to a job. This gave me the potency to start UniqueBrew Cafe and since then it has been a roller coaster ride with excitement, adrenaline and enthusiasm, all packed into one excellent business.
What strategies do you adopt to face the competition in the café industry?
The original concept of cafe is of European origin, where it is a place to relax and spend some time in the company of coffees, beverages and food with an experience. In India, most of the cafes are actually coffee houses, (an American concept) where the focus is on coffee alone. So, we asked our management consulting and franchise rollout advisor, Rohan Bhatt of SQuare Consulting and Management Services to incorporate an entirely Italian feel to the business model with focus on beverages as well as food which gives UniqueBrew Cafe a true Italian Cafe feel and vibe. This surely gives UniqueBrew Cafe a distinct position in the midst of the entire existing cafe’s in the market.
What kind of training and related business support do you intend to offer to the franchisees?
We provide complete onsite, online as well as offline training support to all our franchisees. With our support model, we offer constant monitoring and systems audit for all the stores to keep a thorough check on the operations of all the franchise stores.
How many outlets do you have at the moment?
Currently, we are operating two outlets in Gujarat and one in Rajasthan with at least five stores coming up in the West in the next 6 -8 months.
How much investment and area is required to be your franchisee? Also, comment on the break-even and return-on investment.
The coffee house or standard café model investment starts at Rs 8 – 10 lakh and other business models range up to Rs 1.25 crore. Depending on the business model, the break-even is within 18 – 36 months with an average return on investment pegged at 75 – 80%.
Share your expansion plans.
We are focussing on a pan-India expansion by 2016 with all the major zones captured. The first target will be to open 50 outlets by the end of the FY 2014-15 and then we will go on a multiple unit model alone. All the stores will be franchisee run and the company will purely focus on the operations as well as support provision for the entire network. We are specifically targeting tier II and III markets. Further, we hope to target the metros and tier I cities but with multiple outlets at a time to assist the logistics for the same.
Where do you see your brand’s growth in the years to come? Do you have any international plans?
There will not be any international plan till we reach a target of 300 stores across the country. We are getting a lot of offers from the US and the UK, but for now, we will be focussing on the Indian dream rather than the American dream