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Catering to the young and happening, PastaMania has its footprint across 9 countries. WILSON LIM, Executive Director, International Business shares the brand's journey so far and plans for India with Utpala Ghosh.
What was the inspiration behind starting PastaMania?
The single-minded idea behind the PastaMania concept was to bring great tasting Italian food into the mass market, making it affordable to everyone. It started when Timothy Ghinn, an expatriate European working in Singapore in the 1990s saw the gap in the market where local food was affordable while good Italian cuisine was so expensive. In 1998, Timothy took his dream to Scotts Shopping Centre in downtown Singapore and opened the first PastaMania outlet. Shortly after, Timothy returned to Europe and the business was acquired by Commonwealth Retail Concepts Pte Ltd (formerly known as Pastamatrix International Pte Ltd)in year 2002 (a subsidiary of the Singapore's Commonwealth Capital Group), who successfully transformed the brand from a food court concept into one that has now grown to become Singapore's Largest Italian Casual Dining Chain.
What has been the learning that you have gathered about franchising while working with partners from across the world?
Over the years, PastaMania has been able to put together four elements as the core values that the brand thrives on. First and foremost, consistent branding is essential no matter how diverse the objectives are across varied markets. Second element is the uncompromised quality standards that we set for our restaurant operations as well as our franchise partners. Kitchen & service staff as well as management will go through rigorous, intensive training, both online and onsite, to ensure alignment with the brand and customer satisfaction. Thereafter, comes the role of an efficient enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. We have implemented Gaitway, a powerhouse of information resource, with various modules like menu planner, marketplace (an ordering supplies platform) and more for our franchise partners. Last but not least; we value our relationship with our franchisees above everything else. And the best part of our global expansion has been our ability to bridge cultural gaps and work hand-in-hand to deliver our promise.
How many cities or countries are you present in? How many retail points and number of plates of Pasta have being served?
PastaMania is currently operating in key cities of Singapore, Shanghai, Brunei, Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2), Klang Valley, Kuwait, Dubai, Cairo, Yangon and Phnom Penh. We are in the process of finalizing PastaMania franchise arrangement for Manila (Philippines), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Accra (Ghana), Bahrain and others. Finally, we have more than 50 over PastaMania casual dining restaurants serving more than 20 million plates of pasta to-date.
What is the franchise model you have adopted in these countries?
Our modus operandi in international markets may either take the format of awarding exclusive Master Franchise or Area Franchise business arrangements to enter the strategic relevant markets with speed and efficiency.
Do you plan to enter India? If yes, please tell us how you plan to roll out plan for India.
The brands and restaurant chains of both Indian origin and multinationals have not optimally penetrated the Indian market so far. Segments such as casual dining have found favour with the consumers. This augurs well for PastaMania to set-up franchise footprint in the country. We are working closely with established franchise consultancy firms like ‘Franchise India’ to link-up with potential franchise brand buyers in the market.