Vaidyaratnam stands for quality and excellence in ayurvedic treatment. With its inception way back in 1924 it has followed the legendary path of Ayurveda to popularise the healing effect of the traditional treatment. In an interview, Unnikrishnan, General Manager, Vaidyaratnam shares the origin, growth and future plans of the company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Could you shed some light on the inception of Vaidyaratnam?
Unnikrishnan: Vaidyaratnam, the title was conferred on Ashtavaidyan Narayanan Mooss in the year 1924 by the then Viceroy of British India, Lord Reading. Ashtavaidyan Neelakandhan Mooss, son of Ashtavaidyan Narayanan Mooss, established Vaidyaratnam Oushadhasala in 1941 with the aim to popularise the healing effect of Ayurveda. Presently, Vaidyaratnam has three manufacturing facilities:
An upcoming project of Vaidyaratnam is a Historical Museum. The company is also having herbal gardens for the cultivation of medicinal plants.
RK: What initiatives and practices have you introduced in the company?
Unnikrishnan: Our ayurvedic treatments are based on Panchakarma, which is very much similar to Ashtavaidyan traditional treatment. The company is organising Panchakarma training programmes nationally and have completed two stages, one in Bengaluru and the other in Mumbai. And this training will be imparted by the highly proficient and well trained ayurvedic doctors from Vaidyaratnam.
RK: How many franchised outlets do you presently have? What are your future target locations for expansion?
Unnikrishnan: The marketing strategy of Vaidyaratnam is to expand its network through franchising. At present, the company has more than 1, 000 outlets in Kerala, however in other states, we are supporting around 750 franchised outlets. We are running a business worth Rs 60 crore. Now we are planning to enter into the other metro, Tier I and II cities.
RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting your franchisees?
Unnikrishnan: The eligibility criteria for selecting our franchisees are very simple. We usually look at the prospective franchisees with a shop space of 100 sq. ft area. Though there is no set rule that a franchisee should be an ayurvedic doctor nevertheless, being one is always a benefit. The franchisees are required to invest an amount of Rs One lakh in renting apt areas and in furnishing the outlets with ECG and X-Ray machines. All the franchisees need to have a doctor and two salesmen to run the franchise effectively, the rest is handled and organised by the company itself.
RK: What kind of support and services do you offer to your franchisees?
Unnikrishnan: We provide our franchisees with enough marketing support and help them in promoting the products through other doctors in the similar field. We also help our franchisees in advertising the brand in electronic and print media. We give a complete training to the franchisees for handling special treatment and products.
RK: What is the investment required by an aspiring franchisee?
Unnikrishnan: It is a cost effective project. Apart from this, a franchisee needs to have a 100 sq. ft rental area with an investment of around one lakh rupees. S/he needs to invest this money during furnishing and lease out of the outlet. Interestingly, we do not charge any kind of royalty or ongoing fee from our franchisees.
RK: What are your future plans in terms of expansion?
Unnikrishnan: The company has plans of launching around 1,000 more franchisees in major destinations in India and abroad. For this, the company would invest 25 crore. Besides this, we are planning to provide 1,000 free medical camps in the current fiscal year.