Food and beverage industry occupies the maximum share of Indian franchise industry. Nirula’s a fast-food chain having presence across India has also grown. In an interview Samir Kuckreja, CEO & MD, Nirula’s talks about how franchising has helped in the company’s overall success.
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us the inception, growth and success of Nirula’s.
Samir Kuckreja (SK): Nirula’s pioneered the concept of family style restaurant in India, by setting its first outlet in New Delhi in 1934. Nirula’s operate restaurants under the brand name Nirula’s, casual dining outlets called Nirula’s Potpourri and two Hotels. The Group is present in 75+ locations across Delhi and NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. In June 2006, Navis Capital Partners and I acquired the Nirula’s Group of Companies. While retaining the brand name and logo of ‘Nirula's’, new sub-brand logos were created for Nirula's ice-creams, pastry Shop, delivery business and others. But the Nirula's Group retained the USP of the brand in terms of wide menu choices and affordable prices.
Nirula’s has been presented a Gold Award in the category of Family Restaurants by Reader’s Digest based on the Most Trusted Brands survey, 2009. Adding another achievement to its profile, Nirula’s Ice Cream Museum has been recorded for being the first Ice Cream Museum in ‘Limca Book of Records’.
AG: What are your views regarding the evolution of franchising in food & beverage industry?
SK: Franchising in the food and beverage industry has evolved tremendously in the past 10 years in India. Franchising requires determination and drive to succeed in the tough competitive scenario and it has huge growth potential. With the fast paced growth in the F&B industry, the entry of numerous food brands in the market, development of new retail formats, the franchising models have also evolved.
AG: Is franchising the right option for food & beverage industry to grow?
SK: As eating out becomes increasingly common in India, restaurant operators across cuisine types want to secure their share of increased consumer spending. This offers a good opportunity to aspiring franchisees in the F&B industry. The customer base is expanding, propensity to eat-out is increasing and national / regional brands have developed their game in terms of food and service quality to meaningfully compete with the international brands.
AG: What kind of training and support do you offer to the franchisees?
SK: Franchising is the next big area of growth for Nirula’s. At present we have a number of franchisees to whom we provide training, product and marketing support in setting up and successfully running their restaurants which include:
AG: What kind of franchisee is suited for the food & beverage business? What kind of background and qualification do you look for?
SK: The applicant franchisee should satisfy the following mandatory criteria:
AG: How many franchised outlets are you planning to open by end of next financial year?
SK: Our main focus is to take the vibrancy of Nirula’s to all the metros and mini metros and make available the distinctive and unique ‘desi’ taste to all consumers there. Our plan is to take our outlet count to 150 outlets by March 2012. Presently Nirula’s has 80 outlets (company owned and franchised) in 7 cities. We have recently opened in Indore and Mussoorie and are opening in Jallandhar, Pathankot and Delhi-Jaipur highway. Apart from this we are also looking to open our outlets at railway stations and educational institutions.
AG: What support and training do you provide to your franchisees?
SK: Nirula’s provides extensive, year round training, product as well as marketing support to all its franchisees in setting up and successfully running their restaurants. The customer recognition that is associated with the Nirula’s brand name is another significant contributor to the overall business potential of the franchisee’s outlet.