Cooking up a success story
There are two kinds of entrepreneurs in this world. One is the ‘Creative Entrepreneur’, who is idea-led, passionate, likes to build new concepts and is energetic. He masters the skill of thinking new, building one concept and moving on to another. On the other side, there is an ‘Investor Entrepreneur’, who likes to cash in on concepts; he is strategic, systematic and process-led. They seem as chalk and cheese but they often partner to write a growth story, Entrepreneur helps you understand the science behind it.
Priyank Sukhija, a successful restaurateur currently operates more than 20 fine and casual dining restaurants across Delhi/NCR. The brands owned by his group Lazeez Affaire includes Out of the Box, Boombox Café, RPM, Raas, Pizzeria Rossa, Rossa Asap!, Warehouse Café, Lazeez Affaire, Chamanlal & Sons, Fork You, Skooter, Pure Punjab and The Flying Saucer Café. Lazeez Affaire was set to bring forth a fine dining Indian experience in the heart of Delhi/NCR. The group’s concepts redefined the dining and leisure experience for customers by understanding culinary trends, needs and wants of today’s customers. Lazeez Affaire group is responsible for the revival of markets, such as Hauz Khas Village, Khan Market, Nehru Place and Connaught Place that are now pegged as ultimate dining destinations.
The challenge a lot of idea or creative entrepreneurs face is that they are good at creating something but they don’t know how to scale it up. But business is not just about creating a masterpiece, it is also about taking that to new heights. The solution many creative entrepreneurs have found is in partnering with the one who can take their concept to a growth path. Such is the partnership between Sam Chopra and Priyank Sukhija.
Sukhija’s passion and commitment to take his brands to a different level altogether and Chopra’s business philosophies and acumen make it a win-win equation to both of them.
Sam Chopra’s venture CybizCorp specialises in consulting, incubation, franchising, and licensing and channel distribution in various verticals, including real estate. CybizCorp represents, as its India Master Franchisee, RE/MAX. In the past, its founders have represented Horwath, a leading global hospitality consulting practice, in India and Nepal.
The Best of Both Worlds
When Sukhija joined hands with CybizCorp, he had a clear vision that when they would be busy replicating his concepts, be it a café or a fine dining restaurant, he would be in charge of bringing more concepts and ideas in the form of new ventures. “As there were a lot of creative ideas that were not portrayed yet, I wanted to make best of best places where people could hang out – this is my forte,” says Sukhija.
But letting go of a brand and giving others the charge is not easy for an entrepreneur. To this, Sukhija says, “It was an easy decision to take, as there are an infinite number of reasons to franchise a business if they can fit four parameters: ‘Vision’ because we want to grow the business quick. The ‘skill’ category is broad. We want to expand our businesses but we do not want to deal with more employees, so franchising is a perfect answer since the employees of new location with perfect skill-sets work for the franchisee. ‘Money’ is always an element in the decision behind franchising. Although franchising is expensive to set up, it saves the cost of opening locations as franchisees use their own capital for this purpose. Finally, there is ‘ego’. Yes, ego plays a big role in the decision to franchise.”
But facing the reality – would it be easy to replicate success in the restaurant or café formats. To this Chopra has a plan. “We are not only replicating the concept, but we are also doing a proper due diligence of the locations and surrounding areas. The team at CybizCorp does an extensive research and survey of the area and design the restaurant as well as the menu according to the taste and need of the region. The restaurant is made in such a way that it has a strong propensity to succeed in a particular location catering to the need of the region because restaurant is not about us, but all about them (customers). As far as the standardisation and processes are concerned, a franchisee is provided with store opening assistance, training and development support, comprehensive operations and training manuals, products and branding, marketing collateral and technology – all required to associate with the Lazeez Affaire brand.”
On tying up with Sukhija, Chopra says, “We have known Sukhija for quite a time now and the fact is that he has been successfully running Lazeez Affaire group. He wanted to expand these brands further so what better than awarding a franchise of the same. Moreover, he wanted us to replicate the success we had achieved with RE/MAX for his brands.”
About the expansion of the brand, Chopra is confident as he says, “Lazeez Affaire Group is doing remarkably well in Delhi/NCR, we are planning to take Lazeez Affaire across India. CybizCorp plans to open 100 restaurants and cafes across India and international locations like the US, Dubai and London through franchise partners. We have already started receiving inquiries from Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Indore, Ludhiana, NCR, Lucknow, Mumbai and Bangalore.”
From Realty to Restaurants
The tie-up between Sukhija and Chopra is just the tip of the iceberg. It also marks Cybiz Corp’s entry into the F&B industry. Having been into real estate for quite some time, Chopra always wanted to have a breakthrough in the restaurant business. Chopra has also made a strategic investment in the world-renowned brand “Playboy” and plans are there to launch non-alcoholic cafes for the brand.
As per Chopra, they have clearly identified the young populace of India between the age of 18 and 35 years and want to cash in on their aspirations. Chopra is also bringing one of the leading burger chains in India. On tying up with Carl’s Jr, Chopra says, “We feel that the QSR trend is evolving, and this is the right time for a premium burger quick-service restaurant, such as Carl’s Jr, to enter India, as we are witnessing a ‘Burger Revolution’ in our country – a parallel phenomena that was witnessed in the Pizzas and Pasta category a decade ago. The advent of multiple brands in the premium burger category in the recent past bears testimony to this trend.”
While forecasting his future in the food industry, Chopra says, “In the F&B division, we have Cybiz BrightStar Restaurants as well as Cybiz SuperBrands. Under the Cybiz BrightStar umbrella, we have Carl’s Jr and we will be developing 100+ restaurants initially. As far as Cybiz SuperBrands is concerned, we have different formats in the F&B space and an array of products as well as service franchisee in our kitty to offer to our prospects. Recently, we have taken some financial interest in ‘Playboy’. We are still growing and may even add more brands to our portfolio.”