Gloria Jeans Coffees, with the vision to serve highest quality coffee and provide outstanding and personalised service, has recently entered India through a Master Franchise agreement with Citymax Hospitality. In an interview, Tony White, Regional General Manager Gloria Jean’s Coffees International shares the journey of the brand so far.
Abha Garyali (AG): When and how did Gloria Jean’s Coffees enter India?
Tony White (TW): Gloria Jean’s Coffees entered India in February 2008 via a Master Franchisee agreement with Citymax Hospitality, the Food and Beverage arm of the Dubai based Landmark group.
AG: How would you define the growth of Gloria Jean’s Coffees as an international brand in India?
TW: Gloria Jean’s Coffees in India has grown strategically over the last two years. We opened four outlets in the first quarter of 2008 to test the Indian consumer’s response to our offering and business model before we made further decisions about our expansion. Once we got a deeper understanding of the market and our target consumers, we fine-tuned our offering and business model to suit the nuances of the market. Since then Gloria Jean’s Coffees has achieved great success in the Indian market, under the Master Franchise business model. We have established ourselves in the Indian market as a unique coffee house concept, with a strong brand positioning offering highest quality coffee and great guest service in a vibrant atmosphere.
AG: What motivated you to adopt the master franchise route to expand in India?
TW: Domestic coffee consumption in India has increased significantly over the past 10 years, but there is still ample scope for growth, especially in terms of franchised operations. Gloria Jean’s Coffees world class franchise model has proved very successful, with more than 1,000 coffee houses across 39 countries today. We saw an opportunity to translate this success to the Indian market under the Master Franchise business model. We have adopted a very cautious and measured approach to our growth in the Indian market. As a brand we have a very clear focus on establishing a solid foundation in every market we enter before we scale the brand through our franchise system. We expect to launch our franchise model in 2011 in India.
AG: What kind of training and support does the company provide its franchisees in India? What would be the role and responsibilities of franchisees?
TW: Citymax, our Master franchisee, plans to launch sub-franchising of the brand in the latter part of next year. Citymax plans to have a hands-on approach towards the business and will provide in-depth training for franchisees in business development, store operations and marketing.
Franchisees will be responsible for maintaining high and stringent standards that have been established by Gloria Jean’s Coffees International. Their role will be to run the coffee house as their own business, as an entrepreneur.
AG: What is the initial duration of the training and what is the training schedule later on?
TW: All key personnel within the master franchise partner business, Citymax, travel to Australia to attend the Gloria Jean’s Coffees International ‘Coffee University’. Here they participate in a Master Franchise Partner Induction Programme.
This state-of-the-art training consists of a minimum of three weeks classroom and practical training, including in-store experience. The training covers everything from the brand’s history, values and beliefs to making the perfect cup of coffee, guest service and in-store operations.
AG: How many outlets do you presently have in India? Kindly share your expansion plans.
TW: We have 16 outlets, with presence in Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai. Going forward we are planning for solid growth, based on finding suitable retail locations in our target demographic catchments.
AG: Gloria Jean’s Coffees has been in India since the last few years. What kind of challenges did the brand have to overcome in India?
TW: The two biggest challenges for the brand were adjusting the business model to ensure profitability and creating brand awareness. The unique name of our business is memorable, but also led to the confusion during the intitial period as because of the nature of the business we were in. Having now established a brand presence pan-India, with a reputation for serving great coffee and outstanding guest service, word has quickly spread and we have thus also been successful in overcoming this challenge.