In a tete-a-tete with Restaurant India Gurmeet Singh Owner at Sandoz talks about their brand and its growth.
Sandoz is started by Sardar Jigar Singh in 1950 as a small dhaba named ‘ Calcutta Dhaba’ in Karol Bagh. Jigar Singh migrated from Pakistan in 1947 after Indian independence. He worked hard earning bread and butter for his family after his father’s death. The dhaba kept running for almost 40 years as Calcutta Dhaba till his death in 1993 due to a sudden heart attack. Gurmeet Singh, the elder son of Jigar Singh took over the business leaving behind his studies. And, today the restaurant has grown into a chain in Delhi-NCR.
What made you re brand it as Sandoz?
We rebranded it in 1995 as Sandoz from Calcutta dhaba naming it after my father’s name ‘Sando’. He was a body builder and popularly called as Sando. That’s how we changed the concept of Dhaba eating into restaurant. It was very successful Dhaba and we keep growing.
How many restaurants are there today?
Today we are running 10 restaurants and four banquets in Delhi. Sandoz is very popular in Central, North and West Delhi for its Punjabi food.
How about getting into a franchisee business?
We are already running four franchised outlets in Delhi-NCR including Rajouri Garden, Naraina, Jail Road and Faridabad. Every other day we keep on getting franchisee enquiries but we are very keen on getting a suitable partner who will run our restaurants good.
What is the different kind of models available for franchising?
We have three models- Takeaway which needs investment of Rs 12 lakh including the franchisee fee. Casual dining which is 1500-2500 sqft and requires an investment of Rs 25-35 lakh. And, the last model is a Restaurant cum party hall which needs Rs 20 lakh franchisee fee and 1 crore investment.
What are the selection criteria for a franchising partner?
I look for people who have passion for food- either of eating or cooking because it will be his hobby and he will put all his efforts to grow the business, hard worker who have their own place and want to open something of their own.
Which is your top performing restaurant?
The newly opened Connaught Place is one of the top performing. It is a 200 seater restaurants with around 100 waiting going.
Tell us something about your menu.
Menu is made in such a way that you can eat at Sandoz every day. It is very economical. It’s fresh and we do not store anything. Quality food, hygiene, value for money pricing is what Sandoz is known for.
What is the per cent age of repetitive customers at Sandoz?
We have customers who come five days a week. Almost 80 per cent of our customers are repetitive and 20 per cent is who comes by word of mouth.
What is your plan going forward?
I want to give competition to top MNCs in the country (Domino’s, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s). We will give very limited but strong franchisee as we are not keen on making money but brand.