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Entertainment 2014-01-15

The sound of ringing profits

The sound of ringing profits

A revolutionary integrated music project- blueFROG- consists of India’s premiere live music performance clubs, a music consultancy service, and content creation arm and artist booking/festival-programming agency. Having changed the music scenario in metros like Mumbai and New Delhi, the brand is looking for partners to expand in various parts of the country. Find out how you can be a part of this musical success as Simran Mulchandani, Managing Director, blueFROG speaks with Parina Sood.

What drove you to start this venture? Talk us through your brand’s profile.

blueFROG was set up in 2007 to fill a gap in the music scenario in Mumbai. There really were no quality live music venues around at that time and setting up the club stemmed from a desire on the part of the partners to revive and revitalise the music scene. Bollywood was rampant and there really wasn’t a need for yet another venue playing Bollywood. There was a need to expose Indian audiences to good Indie music and also to international acts that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. There was also the need to nurture young and upcoming talent.

Seeing first-time musicians who have performed on our stage, go on to perform at major music festivals, tour the world and create their own bands is incredibly rewarding. Having started a major music movement in the country keeps us always striving to develop this movement, support musicians and grow a community of like-minded individuals all across India.blueFROG was initially started by five people with experience spanning music, film making, advertising and finance. Artists from all over the world have played at the blueFROG clubs, including John McLaughlin, Earl Klugh, Richard Bona, Angelique Kidjo, Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, Anoushka Shankar, Gotye, Deep Forest, as well electronic music giants like Skazi, Armin Van Buuren, Shpongle, John Digweed, Sasha, Nick Warren and Infected Mushroom. blueFROG’s presence has nurtured and developed the indigenous music scene in the country.

As the industry is more or less unorganised, there is no benchmark to guide you through the course of business. How do you go about setting standards for yourself; vis-à-vis profits, return on investment etc.?

Typically on a rented property a franchisee can expect 45-50 per cent pre-tax p.a. with a payback period on initial investment being around 2-2.5 years. Gross margins tend to be around 30-35 per cent. Our benchmark is longevity by leveraging a very strong brand.

What training and support can a franchisee expect from you?

As a franchisor, we play an active role in training our franchise partners, starting with all the key recruitments - especially with Head HR, Bar Manager, Chef, Operations Head and Marketing Head. The two key engineers looking after AV and Sound are hired by us. We have a pre-opening team that sets up the club and actively visits the location to ensure that it is built according to our brand standards. We provide two weeks of on the job training at blueFrog Mumbai, followed by a two week of on-site training from one of our key trainers. We also have a training manager that doubles up as an F &B manager for the on-going staff training requirements.The franchisee also benefits from the various sponsorships / co-branding alliances that we have with music and F & B companies as well as media companies and from all our business verticals.

Any other requirement that the franchisee needs to fulfil for associating with you?

A franchisee would need to demonstrate a background in hospitality and possibly real estate. Most importantly we want to work with people who have strong roots in the community and a love and understanding of music and the local art and culture scene. An understanding of the local market is crucial as every city is different and no standard model can be replicated all over. The success of the venue will depend on this.

Franchise facts:

Area Investment Expansion plans
3000-4000 sq ft Rs 4-5 Crore Currently operating in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. We are looking at cities such as Chandigarh, Bangalore, Nagpur and Jaipur where we would explore smaller blueFROGs (2500-3000sq ft.). Also, we would love to explore Singapore and Istanbul in international markets as well.
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