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Apr, 19 2010

Cooking the right menu

Joining hands with Pollo Campero as the master franchisee, Lite Bite Foods plans to open flagship stores of the brand across markets and locations. The company would also be choosing sub-franchisees besides establishing the supply chain and logistics. Ami

Joining hands with Pollo Campero as the master franchisee, Lite Bite Foods plans to open flagship stores of the brand across markets and locations. The company would also be choosing sub-franchisees besides establishing the supply chain and logistics. Amit Burman provides details.

With one outlet of Pollo Campero already in operation, how has the response been so far?

We have stepped into the Indian market with one outlet in Gurgaon and will soon be ramping up presence in the market. While the operation is still in its early days, the response to the first outlet has been highly encouraging. Pollo Campero has 350 restaurants in 13 countries including 50 restaurants in the US. It serves more than 7.5 crore consumers per year. Internationally, Pollo Campero is a bigger brand than KFC.

How many Pollo Campero outlets do you plan to open in India?

We are planning to open about 50 stores in the next three years across the country. Half of them will be company-owned and the other half sub-franchisees.

What research did you conduct before joining hands with Pollo Campero?

The research was two-fold, one about the brand itself and second about the concept's acceptability among the Indian consumers. The first part of the research was more to understand how Pollo Campero fares across markets. In the second part, we looked at testing the concept among Indian consumers and understanding their needs and what kind of changes need to be made to their menu offerings to suit the Indian palate.

Which are your target cities for expansion?

NCR and Tier-1 cities would be first on the menu. We would then, in the next phase, go to Tier-2 cities. If we get sub-franchisee request from Teir-2 cities, we will evaluate the same before proceeding.

How do you plan to deal with competition from other chicken brand rivals?

Pollo Campero is one of Latin America's most successful fast food franchises. The large variety on offer in its menu would set Pollo Campero apart from other chicken brand rivals in the country. Also, besides offering Pollo Campero's famous global ranges including fried chicken, the Indian outlets would also have a range of vegetarians' fare including salads. The variety on offer for our consumers and the services would set us apart from the other chains.

What is your long-term vision for Lite Bite Foods?

Lite Bite Foods today offers a wide range of formats, including QSRs, kiosks/carts, CDRs, mega as well as mini food courts. Our portfolio of formats comprises of both leading international as well as in-house concepts and brands.

Lite Bite will invest around Rs 200 crore to establish a pan-India network of over 200 restaurants within a short span of time. While the prevailing real estate rates do make returns challenging, we are upbeat and are managing the delicate trade-off between speed of rollout without giving up our focus on unit-level economics, given all our shareholders are completely aligned on building fundamental value. Soon, we will also step outside India and plan to take our home-grown brands international.

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