Started with a simple idea of serving hot and cold beverage solutions, Café Desire has become the most trusted vendor-company in the country today. In an interview, Ghouse Mohiuddin, Managing Director, Café Desire talks about their journey so far.
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us the inception, growth and success of Café Desire.
Ghouse Mohiuddin (GM): We started with a simple idea that has developed over time. Our business is straight and simple – it is all about offering hot and cold beverage solutions (primarily tea and coffee) at the work place through our range of vending machines. We realised that there was a huge demand for uninterrupted supply of tea and coffee in many offices. Product quality and superior service is what the employees desired the most. Honestly, we thought if we could solve this issue, we would have a big market potential to address. We invested all our energies to become the most trusted vendor-company in the country. Our efforts worked wonders.
AG: When did Cafe Desire originate? How and what motivated the company to adopt the franchise route for expansion pan India?
GM: Café Desire originated in 1998; we were content with the growth and result. But in 2008 we started getting enquiries from other parts of the country then we decided to go national-wide. On that front we thought franchising would be the best route to expand.
AG: Do you face competition from other organised coffee players in this category and how did you hand the competition?
GM: Honestly, the biggest challenge we faced was to break the mind-set of the customers. We had to prove that we were superior compared to the big multinational brands like Nestle, Unilever, Coca-cola’s Georgia and others. Somehow, there was no room for any small new company, because all the corporate and even individuals obviously preferred to invest in some multinational brand. For this we tooled trial contracts and proved ourselves first to our potential customers. It was indeed a risky and a tedious process, but what makes me most happy is that we became successful at the end of the day and started growing at an extremely rapid pace.
AG: What is the USP of Cafe Desire?
GM: There is not one USP, but many. But most importantly, the message which I regularly drive across to my team is that we have to adopt a ‘customer-centric’ approach, both when it comes to our growth strategies and thought process. All our meetings and interactions start and end with two subjects – customer and competitor.
AG: How many franchisees do you have in India and in which cities? What are your future expansion plans?
GM: As of now we have 35 franchisees mostly in southern part of India and we have plans to take it 100 in the near future.
AG: Do you think that the success of the brand has been contributed by the hard work of the franchisees?
GM: As the crux of our business had been quality and service. And quality being delivered by our company and service is rendered by our franchisees, so we can say, yes, the success of the brand has been contributed by the hard work of the franchisees.
AG: What are the qualities and the criteria for the selection of your prospective franchisees? How much investment is required by them?
GM: Primarily we look for people who understand the importance of service, and the retention of customer. The investment required for tier-I and tier-II cities is respectively Rs five lakh to 10 lakh.
AG: How does the company support and train the franchisees?
GM: We have a training schedule for service where-in the service staff of franchisee is trained at our corporate office. Training centre covers in-house and field training. Sales training is given by our franchisee development manager who visits franchisee’s place for a period of one week.
AG: What are the challenges that can be faced by franchisees in your company? How can these challenges be overcome?
GM: Setting up the whole process could be the initial challenge which falls in place within 60-90 days. By replicating the proven model which we offer one can do this even in 30 – 45 days.