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Oct, 16 2012

CARVING OUT SUCCESS WITH VEGGIE DELIGHTS

As fast food joints are a major crowd puller with people across age groups biting on their mouth-watering burgers, let us peep into the opportunities being explored by the food giants to boost their businesses by introducing tailor-made vegetarian menus f

FRANCHISORS across the F&B sector seem to have picked up the Indian trend towards all-vegetarian food with major food giants like Mc Donald's and Subway starting all-vegetarian outlets near religious places, hospitals and educational institutions.

A fast food chain like Mc Donald's, which is popular across the globe for its scrumptious chicken burgers, is now customising its menu according to the regional demands prevailing in India in a bid to cater to its aficionados. Such strategic decisions by fast food companies will satiate not only the taste buds of their consumers but will also satiate the opportunity-hungry entrepreneurs.

Mc Donald's, known for its Chicken Maharaja Burger, has started an all-vegetarian outlet near the Vaishno Mata shrine and the Golden Temple as well.

Likewise, Subway well-known for its delectable and healthy sandwiches, is now offering all-vegetarian outlets for its consumers. So potential franchisees, who are looking to launch an all-vegetarian branded restaurant at any of the religious places across the country must grab the opportunity.

Similarly, Coffee Day Xpress (CDX) has positioned itself at places like hospitals, which are always packed with patients and their families who are looking for quick snacks to pacify their hunger pangs.

Customise to capture profits

Going by the changing trend, apparently, several international brands, known for their delectable non-vegetarian recipes, are customising their menus making them 100 per cent vegetarian, considering the fact that it would boost their business and provide better opportunities for growth.

Manpreet Gulri, Country Head, Subway Systems India Pvt Ltd, was busy customising the menu of the sandwich giant by starting the world's first vegetarian outlet at a private school in Noida in August this year. Subway has also started two more similar outlets, one at Ghatkopar, Mumbai, and the other restaurant in Jalandhar, Punjab.

About the opening of fast food outlets at strategic locations, K. Ramakrishnan, President, Marketing, Café Coffee Day & CDX, says that CDX is already present in hospitals and they are planning to launch more express kiosks at such locations. Though CDX kiosks are not present at religious places, their larger cafe format, Café Coffee Day (CCD), is present at places like Tirupati Balaji, Vaishnav Devi, etc.

Elaborating on it Ramakrishnan says: “Going by the nature of a kiosk, at CDX we primarily target consumers looking for a quick healthy bite while on the move. We also cater to the needs of those looking to take a short break from their busy schedule to replenish their energy with a refreshing cool beverage or an energising cup of coffee or sandwich.” Thus, a hospital is one such place where the consumer needs to take a quick bite.

While CDX presently doesn't have an all-vegetarian outlet, pizza specialist Pizza Corner also doesn't have any such plans for now.

However, almost every food giant has been customising recipes and menus for the Indians to afford them items they can relish. On customising menus CEO of Global Franchise Architects (GFA) Joseph Cherian says: “We have over the years done major investments in R&D to localise the needs of the Indian consumer. Our stores are currently spread across different neighbourhoods, which could consist of high streets, malls, small towns and villages, etc. All these areas have different consumer segments and Pizza Corner, with its strategic position of being universal, appeals to all target audiences.”

Biz strategy to grow

Regarding the relation between business growth and vegetarian food in the F&B industry, Gulri says: “There are numerous growth opportunities in India for all-vegetarian restaurants. A few such opportunities have been presented to us and we have opened three such outlets. The first one was at Amity school, Noida, the second at Ghatkopar, Mumbai, and the restaurant in Jalandhar is the third such outlet. We are looking to open a few more, going forward.”

About their expansion plans Ramakrishnan says: “Apart from opening our CDX kiosks at corporates, schools, hospitals, etc., which we are otherwise doing, we are also exploring new opportunities and destinations to open and operate our express cafe formats. We have recently launched CDX kiosks at the American Centre in Kolkata and Big Foot, which is an exhibition centre in Goa.

While CDX is a kiosk, and CCD and Barista are cafés, there is no vying for market supremacy between the two. Ramakrishnan clarifies: “CCD is not competing with CDX. CDX is a convenient café format from the house of CCD. The kiosk system of CDX is a hugely successful takeaway concept due to the fast paced lives of the Indian youth today. At CDX we provide fast, hygienic, convenient-to-eat food and beverage offerings at great prices. Consumers can indulge in a variety of delicious and quick snacking and beverage options from coffees, teas and hot chocolate to sandwiches, soups, puffs, etc., while on the go. The kiosks are located at various touch-points where consumers are looking for a quick healthy bite. Consequently, you will find our kiosks at places like malls, high street locations, airports, railway stations, corporates, etc., catering to the hunger needs of consumers on the move or those wanting to take a short snack break from their busy day.”

Pizza Corner has presently opened its outlets at Rammamurthy Nagar, Goldman Sachs, Jayanagar 5th Block, Chetan Theatre in Bangalore, Hosur, Bally High in Kolkata, Vishal Mall in Madurai, Annanagar, T Nagar in Chennai and Madhapur in Hyderabad.

Platter of opportunities

When asked about their expansion plans and customised menu for the Indian foodies, Gulri says: “We are looking at various possible locations simultaneously, where we feel we have an opportunity to grow with vegetarian restaurants. We have introduced some additional vegetarian items on the menu at these restaurants.”

About their business proposal Gulri adds: “We are looking at various vegetarian-only options. We have a very flexible business model and would like to tap into all possible opportunities to grow.”

On the other hand CDX aims to serve delicious food at a fast pace while maintaining hygiene levels for consumers on the go. At all their CDX kiosks they serve a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Regarding their stores Ramakrishnan says: “Currently about 14% of our stores are franchise stores. Going forward all our CDX cafes are going to be self-owned.”

Joseph Cherian, however, had a different perspective on the issue of customising menus. He says: “We do not change based on each location. But we have a menu which caters to all target segments and locations.”

Pizza Corner has 33 per cent company owned and 67 per cent franchise stores.

FRANCHISE FACTS

Subway

  • Investment: Rs 30-45 lakh
  • Area: 300-650sq ft
  • Break-even: N/ A
  • ROI: N/A

Pizza Corner

  • Investment: Rs 30-70 lakh
  • Area: Residential, mall, office
  • Break-even: 2-3 years
  • ROI: 35%

CDX:

  • Investment: Around 5 lakh
  • Area: 100-250 sq.ft
  • Break Even: Depend on overhead of the location
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