Burgers have caught the imagination of the young in India and even the older ones are not very far behind. This has encouraged brands to make the most of the opportunity, even as these developments offer a lucrative business option for investors via franc
A frizzy glassful of aerated drinks, topped up with ice cubes with a bite on your favourite burger is surely a sumptuous meal for those who have a tooth for the big fat burger. Be it popular picks like the KFC's Zinger Burger, Mc Donald's Chicken Maharaja burger or the roadside burger which the rehriwala sells for a meager Rs 10, burgers are among the in-demand categories in fast foods with upcoming brands like Burgs introducing 20-odd kinds of burgers and plan to keep increasing the count. Subroto Mukherjee, COO, BURGS, says that he started in 2012 after a year and a half of research, conceptualisation and product development. “Slowly but surely we went about establishing the brand and opened our first store at Bandra, in March 2012 and the second store at Pune- Amanora Mall, in August 2012. Having seen the fantastic response round the year, we were sure that we had created a winner and now we are in the next stage of taking the brand ahead in an accelerated but controlled fashion.”
Burger Girl is a genuinely friendly, full service, sit down and fast casual family restaurant, bringing casual fast food dining to the forefront of India. The brand believes that they have designed a menu to offer staples of great “All-American” cuisine with a unique blend of international and Indian spices and sauces sure to please all ages and tastes.
Shekhar Badam of Burger Girl says: “We have developed a place where fast food meets restaurant style dining giving the customer the choice to eat on the go or relax with his friends and family. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices are carefully chosen, simple in design but big on flavour.”
“Our teams of professionals are fully experienced in real estate, brand management, growth and development of the food service industry. We are constantly improving restaurant operations, adjusting supplies and materials to keep costs low and finding ways to improve our media outreach. Overseeing our 'smaller' menu items is the most promising aspect of Burger Girl's business concepts such as our signature sweet dish that is more than just a dessert and the Woozookie, which has already proven to be a great success with our customers,” says Badam.
Dheeraj Gupta, Founder, Jumboking, the brand known for manufacturing the Indian version of burger, i.e. vadapav says: “Vadapavs have always been popular in the country. It can also be called the Indian equivalent of the burger. Burgers were street food in the US, just like the Indian vadapav, before chains started to organise it. Jumboking gained popularity soon after it was launched owing to the fact that vadapavs are everyone's favourite.”
Smart plans for stiff competition
Be it the food and beverage industry or beauty and wellness industry, customising the product is what makes a brand stand out among other brands in its category. Likewise, the upcoming burger brand, Burger Girl, has come up with six unique flavours for vegetarian burgers and six for non-vegetarian burgers. The basic recipe which Burger Girl prepares is unique, believes Badam. He says: “Our recipe is quite different from others in the industry and we plan to keep it that way. We offer a great quality product in all our locations all the time. We are also in the process of developing a new recipe that is unheard of in the QSR industry, so stay tuned in the coming weeks! Moreover, we are always striving to keep improving the overall product and experience that Burger Girl has to offer in India.”
Mukherjee believes that there are indeed very few players in the segment. Moreover, Burgs is not a mass brand where most of the players are today. “We are largely targeting the gourmet segment and serving one of the widest ranges of burgers under one roof in India. Our competitive advantage is that we are the first of our kind in India and wish to be the destination of choice when it comes to convenience quick service restaurants in India. We will soon look at extending both our width and depth of offerings to ensure that we give the discerning consumer a taste of real exquisite variety of burgers. Today, we have over 20 burgers and the range is ever expanding.”
While Jumboking is a unique brand, it offers six varieties of vadapavs. Gupta of Jumboking is of the view that the Indian market is just beginning to grow and it can take at least 5-6 strong brands in this category before the competition starts becoming stiff.
Growing with franchising
Franchising is the best way to expand today with almost every brand in each sector opting for franchising. Mukherjee is looking for a master franchisee. He says that they will be looking at having the right partner as their master franchisee/regional partner. A franchisee will have to open at least five outlets of his own. Mukherjee says: “Obviously, the choice of a partner is extremely important for us and we are looking for someone who shares our vision and growth plans.” He adds: “Burgs was not into franchising as we were looking at an expansion in the five metros to start with and that too through a regional partner rather than an individual franchisee. The regions we are looking out for partners are the NCR, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad.”
While Gupta feels that franchising is a very well developed business system in the Western markets. “We don't feel the need to re-invent the wheel. We do take advantage of the best practices from various well-established franchise brands in the West and are applying them to an Indian product which is the vadapav,” says Gupta.
Burger Girl, on the other hand, offers a variety of opportunities: franchise, master franchise and joint venture partnership. Each has its own benefits, depending on what an investor is looking for.
Hurdles on way
One of the major hurdles for Jumboking was launching the Indian burger. Gupta says that using the best international practices for a product priced at Rs 10 has been by far the biggest challenge. It puts pressure on the margin of profit. For Burgs lack of skilled manpower and logistics, and high rentals were the major hurdles.
Expansion on cards
Burgs is a young brand and has recently opened its fourth outlet. It aims to open at least 25- 30 outlets in three years. On the other hand, Jumboking plans to double its store count in the next three years.
SUBROTO MUKHERJEE, COO, BURGS
“Burgs was not into franchising as we were looking at an expansion in the five metros to start with and that too through a regional partner rather than an individual franchisee.”
DHEERAJ GUPTA, Founder, Jumboking
“We take advantage of the best practices from various well-established franchise brands in the West and are applying them to an Indian product which is the vadapav.”