Owned and operated by Bloombay Enterprises LLP, The Belgian Waffle Co. (BWC) was an idea born in the mind of Shrey Aggarwal, who was in Manila and got attracted by waffle as a business concept. Ankit Patel, CEO, The Belgian Waffle Co, highlights how BWC has transformed waffles into a recession-proof business
Starting out as a humble kiosk in April 2015, BWC has become one of the fastest growing QSR chains in India within a short span of three years. The company boasts of 200+ stores across 55+ Indian cities with international presence in Nepal and Dubai. The product and brand have been universally loved, highly appreciated, and is ready to embark on to the next phase by entering international markets. Excerpts from the interview:
What makes your brand irresistible for franchisees and customers?
We can be credited for making waffles a mainstream food and not just a dessert item, thus expanding within the various food categories. Earlier, waffles used to be largely consumed during breakfast. We introduced the innovative concept of different fillings in between the waffle sandwiches. This innovation is what we believe has contributed immensely to the success of BWC. Meanwhile, achieving 14 times’ growth in one year, keeping product quality consistent, and managing the supply chain was no mean feat. Our rapid growth clearly showcases the strength of our brand and our product. In fact, we have a daily average footfall of 250 per outlet.
With the ongoing low consumer sentiment and economic downturn, how will this impact your business?
While talks of a slowdown are happening across the board, we firmly believe that given our price points and the demographic profile we cater to, we will not be seeing any slowdown in our business. We largely target people in the age group of 3-30 years. Also, we have priced our products as extremely affordable with an average price range of Rs 100-150. We can safely say that we have created a recession-proof business. We are in fact working towards improving our product range and bringing freshness to our menu through new product and concept launches which we feel is critical for any food and beverage player.
What are the elements which make your franchise model unique?
Our business model makes optimum use of space and manpower whilst delivering consistent quality and inspirational product at affordable pricing. The model understands the constraints of high rents. A franchise unit can start with an investment of Rs 15-20 lakhs and expect monthly revenues of Rs 5-7 lakhs with typical gross profits of Rs 80,000- 1.5 lakhs. Our robust returns have in fact enabled over 40 of our franchise partners to have multiple units.
What will be your top priorities for the next 12-24 months?
With more than 200 outlets in India and presence in Nepal and Dubai, we are now marching ahead with an aspiration of becoming a global brand. Moving forward, we plan to increase our footprint to 500 outlets by FY 2022 across 150+ cities. We want to expand aggressively in Tier II and III markets by adding 10-12 outlets every month.
Franchising since: 2016
Total outlets: 200+
Investment: Rs 15-20 lakh
Area: 200-300 sq ft
Break-even: 12-24 months