In conversation with Nitin Arora, CEO, Creambell Ice Cream, who shares his views on franchising, business model and lot more..
Launched in 2003, Creambell is one of the fastest growing ice cream brands in India and amongst the top five ice cream producers of the country with over 15% market share. Creambell Ice Cream is a brand of Devyani Food Industries Ltd [a Ravi Jaipuria promoted company] and part of the RJ Corp. which has a turnover of over $1 Bn. Here is a candid chat with Nitin Arora, CEO, Creambell Ice Cream where he shared his thoughts on franchising, best suited business models and low survival of Gelato in India. Read on..
What new Creambell has brought this year?
Our season is basically summers. It’s already gone but there has been a lot of excitement as we came up with a lot of new products like Chockerz. Some are flavours and some are innovations. We have come up with 18 innovations. It’s been a great year.
Do you also take out time and try your hands on other competition products?
Yes, it’s a continuous process. All the time we have to compare each other’s products. This is part of R&D where there is a benchmarking. We do compare with competition. Being very honest, I would say, most of the time it is more of professional inclination than any other thing. Every brand has got its own core products, strengths and weaknesses. So it is surely a part of the process.
Which according to you is the best suited business model for ice cream industry?
Push cart has got its own advantages because it is very accessible to the consumer. This is a wonderful business model because even if i know there is a retailer in the market, i would not go since a push cart is always available nearby. A shop opens at 7-8 in the morning and closes at 9 in the evening, so anytime of the day retailer is available too. So, it is the benefit of outlets. They have their own advantages. They are co-existing. Each one has something distinct to offer.
What are your thoughts on franchise model?
We have our own sub brand scoopers for which we have almost 95-100 scoopers- franchisees pan-India, in state capitals. This platform is quite on the upswing but it is a slow burner. It takes its own time. For example we have a reach of about 70,000 retailer pan-India. If I decide to have 1000, scoopers I cannot hope to achieve this in one season. I have to give it a time frame of 2-3 years. It’s not only about numbers. It is also about giving an experience to the consumer. We are trying to create a scoopers ambience of what is being given at any CCD or Barista.
What do you think is the reason of slow Gelato brands wrap up in India?
It is the business model. These are more of standalone propositions. You find a gelato kiosk in a mall or cinema where the rentals are too high and all the time few people are needed to manage the counter. So, operating costs is also on the higher side. For the AC environment also the brand indirectly pays. The footfall is limited to the category offering so; the model does not seem feasible in terms of many factors. Also, ice creams are more Indian as far as Indian taste buds are concerned. The texture and characteristics of an ice cream are such that Indian taste buds are much more comfortable to as compared to the new taste of gelato.
How do you keep a check on the quality when franchisees are concerned?
The ingredients and anything that goes into any ice cream Sunday or soda is supplied by the company. Nothing is allowed from outside. Not even a cup or a cone. We have got regional teams who keep a check on the same. In India we have 4 regional teams. Around 30 scoopers are coming under the purview. They do regular and surprise visits too at franchise outlets.
Any extra territories you are planning to mark this year as a part of your expansion?
We picked up two major geographies this year. Western includes Mumbai, Pune and eastern has Kolkata and Asansol which are our main thrust and focus at this time. Few months ago we entered Chennai. We are starting with Marina beach. We are introducing E-rickshaw vending there like mobile parlours.