Bengaluru based Billionsmiles Hospitality (BSH) is all set to take south Indian cuisine to places through franchising. In an interview, the young entrepreneur Vijay Abhimanyu, Managing Director, BSH shares his company’s future plans.
Abha Garyali (AG): Share with us the origin, growth and success of ‘Billionsmiles Hospitality’ (BSH).
Vijay Abhimanyu (VA): Billionsmiles Hospitality (BSH) has two brands under its portfolio-South Indies and Bon South. We launched the company in Bengaluru in March 2007. BSH was launched keeping in mind the preferences of the consumers. Our company aims to take south Indian dining to the next level. We are the pioneers in transferring the simple service to a four course meal. Presently, the south Indian restaurants do not offer a wide variety to choose from. But on the other hand, we offer them the opportunity of fine-dine in the cuisine. We have been gaining appreciation and winning awards for our innovative approach.
AG: Tell us about the formats of Billionsmiles Hospitality.
VA: BSH has two restaurant formats-South Indies and BonSouth. South Indies is an upscale south Indian vegetarian restaurant chain and BonSouth is a non-vegetarian chain. BonSouth was launched one year after South Indies.
AG: From where did you get the inspiration to opt for franchising as a mode of expansion?
VA: We saw a huge scope in the concept of fine dine in south Indian cuisine. It is the most preferred cuisine in north as the north Indians families love to eat south Indian delicacies and we see a lot of potential in the markets. This made us opt for the franchise route. Moreover, we are getting a lot of franchise enquiries from all-over India as well as from US and UK. Our outlets are very well accepted in Bengaluru and we hope to do equally well in the north.
AG: How can franchisees help in the expansion of a new and up-coming brand?
VA: The franchisees can successfully handle some of the important aspects of expansion. They can bring in the capital for expansion, select the location and set up the outlet successfully.
AG: What is the marketing strategy that you have employed for expansion of BSH?
VA: Till now we are more interested in managing our company-owned outlets. As our company is in the initial stages, we are giving more importance on laying strong foundation and quality building for later expansion. We have seen some companies who start well but due to their aggressive plans cannot maintain the original standards. We do not want to make any such mistakes and are growing at slow pace.
AG: What are the expansion plans of your company?
VA: BSH has a vision of building an 80-100 outlets international chain in eight to 10 years. We will be launching four new outlets in the year 2010 in Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur and Delhi. Our target cities for expansion include Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh etc. We have plans of launching two more brands under the south Indian cuisine in the near future.
AG: What qualities do you look in prospective franchisees for your company?
VA: Ideally we are on the look-out for franchisees with good initial capital for running the outlets. We understand that franchising is a marriage between the franchisor and the franchisee. Both the parties should be happy and compliment each other. We are looking for people with right attitude and self confidence. They should have the entrepreneurial instincts and should be involved in the business. We are very confident about our outlets but we want our franchisees to be local entrepreneurs of the area so that they know the local preferences and take the business forward.
AG: How much investment is required by an aspiring franchisee?
VA: The franchisee has to make one time capital investment in establishing the brand. The investment can range from Rs one crore to Rs 1.5 crore for both the brands.