Blending traditional delicacies with the ethnic sounds of Indian culture (Thumris and Ghazal), Khyber, a well known name in the Indian restaurant industry is all set to conquer the Indian palettes. Sudheer Bahl, Director, Khyber Restaurant shares the success, growth and future of his company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Shed some light on the origin, growth and success of Khyber?
Sudheer Bahl: Khyber was started by my father in 1958 and I am a second generation owner of Khyber. In the early years, Khyber was a modest priced casual dining restaurant. But after it got burnt down to ashes in 1985, we rebuilt and restarted the restaurant in 1988 as a premium dining restaurant in North India. We hired the best designer (Parmeshwar Godrej) of the country to redesign the restaurant and to position it as an up-market restaurant brand. Now, Khyber has a club called Red Light and banquet halls that offer facilities for more than 250 people.
RK: What inspired Khyber to take the franchise route?
SB: We have been very conservative so far in terms of expanding through others but now we have changed the whole policy. Now, we feel that with the kind of investment involved, it would not be possible for us to do it alone and therefore now we are looking at the franchise route.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees?
SB: We are looking for people with properties. And if s/he does not have the property then s/he must have enough capital to invest in the venture. Secondly, location will be the prime importance for our brand therefore; we are putting lots of efforts in identifying the ideal location. Apart from this, if the franchisee is related to the food business then it is preferable because it will help him in successfully handling the business, however, it is not at all an eligibility criterion.
RK: How much investment is required by the franchisees?
SB: We charge 10 per cent of the project cost as the sign-up fee from our franchisee and we take six per cent royalty on net sales. This is our format and besides this, we require an area of 4,000 sq. ft along with rent deposits.
RK: What kind of initiatives and practices have you introduced in the company?
SB: We are focusing on creating a slick atmosphere for our customers, especially for the international tourist in order to make them feel comfortable in a place like Khyber. Apart from this, we do not change our menu randomly because we have loyal, die-hard fans for so many years. In short, we believe in offering the best services and in maintaining the consistency in the quality of our various offerings.
RK: How many restaurants do you presently have? What are your future target locations?
SB: Presently, we have a single restaurant in India but we are targeting at the major metro cities to open our franchised restaurants there.
RK: What kind of support and training a franchisee will get when partnering with your company?
SB: We will be giving all the necessary support. We will be helping them in the layout of the franchise restaurant, its designing and in its whole set-up. We will be providing hands-on training to all our franchisees and their staff. We will be sending a team of our skilled people to the various locations who will be involved in training the staff of the franchisees. Besides this, we will let the staff of our various franchisees to work in our restaurant for few months in order to understand the working methods of our company and to get a good hold on the business operations.
RK: Do you think that your franchisees can face any challenge while running the franchised restaurant? If yes what are they and how can they overcome those challenges?
SB: I do not think that our franchisees will face any challenges while running the business as we will be providing them with every kind of support they require during the initial period of the business establishment. This is the major advantage of taking-up a franchise as the franchisee needs not to learn everything from scratch. S/he learns from the experiences of his/her franchisor.
RK: What are your future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
SB: We recently have engaged the expertise of Francorp in order to successfully expand our brand across the nation through franchising. As we are getting enquiries from abroad as well, therefore, we are also looking at overseas expansion via franchise route.