Sameer Lamba, the third generation Hospitality entrepreneur of the Kwality Group (pioneers in North Indian Cuisine restaurants, outdoor catering and organized ice cream manufacturing in India), has brought in two American restaurant brands IHOP and Potbelly to India. Read on...
In conversation with Franchise India, Sameer Lamba, Owner, Kwal’s Group shares how IHOP’s pancakes business is growing in India while dodging the challenges, by making minimal changes to cater to a larger Indian audience.
Sameer Lamba, the third generation Hospitality entrepreneur of the Kwality Group(pioneers in North Indian Cuisine restaurants, outdoor catering and organized ice-cream manufacturing in India), has brought in two American restaurant brands IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) and Potbelly to India. Along with managing the family restaurant business successfully pan India, he plans to expand the two international brands geographically across India.
Pancakes for everyone
Sameer says, “IHOP has no competition. We are selling pancakes to 99% of the people, introducing it as a new item. It is a breakfast place where we have omelets, pancakes and eggs to order and basically, we have no competition. In potbelly we are focusing on ingredients the most, thereby, separating us from the rest.”
He adds, “We don’t franchise brands, we have our own model, which is the COFO model, where we keep all the operations to ourselves. Franchising is still at its nascent stage in India and people don’t really understand what franchising means. They try to cut corners or cut cost by getting different products which are not acceptable to most international brands. That’s why international brands always go for COFO model or a Master franchisee model. What we have is a multi-unit franchise where we operate and run all the restaurants all ourselves.”
Challenges in Bringing Global Brands to India
Sameer says, “The challenges we faced were pretty normal in India like finding the right real estate for launching these brands, which would be viable in the long run. That was the first challenge. The second challenge was on the supply side: we had to customize a lot of elements to suit the Indian palette. For example, our waffles and pancakes are all made with eggs so we had to take the egg out of the equation and develop a new kind of mix.”
Everything should be right
To run a restaurant brand successfully for three generations is not a joke; only an experienced restaurateur can share what will work in the favor of the restaurant brand and what cannot.
“It should find the right location: every brand has a different casement, a different target group and you should always find a place where your target audience is available,” adds Sameer.
Making the right selection will give you rich fruits and Sameer terms it like this: “Quality is to get the rent right, get in people all day long, an also get your price right. The consistency of the food is very important.”