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Oct, 08 2013

TAILOR-MADE SUCCESS ON YOUR PLATTER

Going by the changing trend, several international brands, known for their delectable recipes, are customising their menus so as to boost their business and provide better opportunities for growth. Catch a glimpse of the F&B industry that has great opport

Arav,  a young boy who is soon turning seven next month, has already decided to take all his friends to Dominos for his birthday celebrations, whereas for a college going Aditi, McDonald’s is the best place to hang out with friends and enjoy a wide selection of burgers, fries and beverages at affordable prices.

With increasing disposable incomes, advent of a global culture, influence of the West, Indian consumers today want to experience premium brands in the F&B sector. Presently, the market is very competitive, given the escalating graph of fast food and multi- cuisine consumption. To cater to this increasing demand, a large number of international F&B brands are foraying into India. To be on a par with the local ones, these international brands are hitting the Indian market with the local ones, with both constantly striving to provide their customers with the best offerings.

Such videshi brands have achieved consistent growth after setting foot on our desi land with the intention to further increase their presence through exclusive franchise proposition. Now customisation is the key mantra for most international F&B players to win the hearts of Indian consumers.

Customise to sell

Like any other start-up enterprise, the foreign entrants in the F&B industry also face a few hiccups while establishing themselves on the desi land. Among these include understanding the Indian consumers' consumption pattern, besides finding the right workforce and right locations.

Dunkin’ Donuts, a baked goods and coffee chain based in the US, has extended its menu as part of its service customisation to satisfy the taste buds of Indian customers. It has branded its restaurants in India as 'Dunkin' Donuts & More' to attract more customers and grab a large market share. Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd (JFL), India's largest food service company, signed an agreement with Dunkin' Donuts to bring the brand's restaurants to India. Given its deep understanding of Indian consumers, JFL has gone the extra mile to innovate and offer menu that brings the best of what the brand has to offer.

This international donuts brand, besides serving its core donuts, has a menu tailor-made to suit the Indian market. The menu comprise a wide range of donuts, Dunkin' original blend drip coffee, espresso based beverages, along with menu options developed specially for India. Furthermore, the beverages menu has also been expanded with fruit milkshakes, smoothies and tea, along with sandwiches and burgers.

Like any other franchise F&B brand, Australia based Di Bella Coffee has also done its bit to tantalise the taste buds of Indian customers. Their menu for the Indian market is especially designed for the Indian consumer. Apart from serving coffee, they offer a few paneer snacks to suit the Indian palette.

“The services offered to our Indian consumers are very much the same as those offered overseas. However, in India consumers prefer to chat over coffee. They prefer to have conversations while munching  snacks and sipping coffee, unlike in the western countries where customers grab their coffee on the go. Our outlets in India have been designed keeping this in mind,” says Sachin Sabharwal, MD, Di-Bella Coffee India.

Platter full of opportunities

As fast food joints are a major crowd puller, Mc Donald's has started an all-vegetarian outlet near the Vaishno Devi shrine, Jammu and the Golden Temple, Amritsar as well. Such exercise of customisation is offering lucrative opportunities to potential franchisees that are looking for launching all-vegetarian branded restaurants at any of the religious places across the country.

Likewise, SUBWAY, a well-known international brand that forayed into India with an array of delectable and healthy submarine sandwiches, serves no beef products in India and has also opened fully-vegetarian restaurants in select locations in India. The chain has adapted its menu according to the needs and demands of the operating market. “We work closely with local chefs and regional suppliers to ensure a good balance of vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings specifically selected to appeal to the Indian pallete. SUBWAY restaurants in India offer a wide range of local favourites such as Chicken Tandoori and Paneer Tikka. Space-permitting, vegetarian and non-vegetarian service counters are kept separate,” says Manpreet Gulri, Country Head (India), SUBWAY Systems India Private Limited.

As food giants explore opportunities to boost their businesses by introducing tailor-made vegetarian menus for the Indian market, Leonidas, a Belgium based chocolate brand, is no way behind in customising its products and services in India. All Leonidas Chocolates available in India are 100 per cent vegetarian and offers a variety of chocolates. The brand is operational via the franchise route in India, also has an assortment of sugar free chocolates with 100 per cent fruit pastes and nuts for the health conscious and the aged.

“Localisation to meet consumer needs is always important for a business to be successful. We do tremendous research to cater to the tastes of the consumers here. We offer special tailor-made services to meet the ideas and preferences of Indian customers,” says Darshit Shah, MD, Premium Pralines Pvt Ltd, which is an authorised reseller of Leonidas Chocolates in India.

Slaking appetite

Talking about the reasons for adopting the franchise model, Luis Gamon, Managing Director, Smooy India, says: “We trust the franchise model as it is an excellent opportunity to allow others to share with us our vision for a speedy development and expansion. Our We always offer support to our franchisees.”

Spain based fro-yo entrant Smooy is operating 140 franchise stores on its homeland and has entered India with its own outlet in Gurgaon. The chain boasts of having a deep menu, frozen yogurt, natural and a special flavor, which keeps changing every week. Smoothies, freezers, twisters and sweets are the additional offerings that complete deep menu.

Strategies to grow

Today SUBWAY has its footprints in 73 cities and operates 376 restaurants across the country via franchising. It plans to reach the 430-restaurant count in India by December 31, 650 restaurants by the end of 2015 and 1000 restaurants by the end of 2017. The SUBWAY chain's plans for India are also in line with its growth plans for Asia, setting a target of opening more than 3,000 stores by 2017. The sandwich chain is currently growing at a rate of 2,000 stores per year and despite the downturn witnessed in the world economy, its revenues have continued to rise. It is operational via more than 39,000 restaurants spread across 102 countries.

Currently the brand has one company owned outlet in Gurgaon and is planning to open four new by December in Delhi and Mumbai by following the franchise route. Leonidas is looking at expanding to their priority markets and are currently focusing on New Delhi, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai via the franchise route. The franchisees of this chocolate chain will be provided practical as well as theoretical training and knowledge as per changing customer needs and trends whenever required.

About their business proposal, Sabharwal says: “Di Bella Coffee anticipates the break-even for its franchisees at somewhere between 24-36 months, depending on the store location and size. The USP of the brand is our past pay-back period and quick break-even point. We have devised a systematic assistance programme for our franchisees, by helping them to choose the best location to grow the business and also to assist them with set up operations. We primarily help our franchise partners in designing the cafe and in in-depth training and support material for comprehensive Di Bella coffee preparations.”

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