In conversation with Restaurant India, Saddam Zaroo, MD, Royal Khazir Group &Hotel RK Sarovar Portico, Srinagar talks about his expansion plans.
Please share your entrepreneurial Journey and what led to the birth of your brand?
I have been always interested in establishing a multi-industry-corporate house in the valley. My father involved me in business decisions at a very young age probably when I was 17. Since then the complexities of business interested me. In 2011 even before I had my graduation ceremony I joined my parent business Khazir sons. It’s a full time business which involved retail and export. That led to further involvement into the hotel industry which was based on my uncle’s vision for expansion. He chooses me to carry out the vision which I did. Thus, it led to Royal Khazir hotels and resorts Pvt. Currently; I overlook the Indian operations of Khazir sons and day to day operations of Royal Khazir hotels and resorts Pvt ltd.
How many stores are there within your brand today and what is the average store size?
Currently we are having 25+ stores in India and Middle East. I look into the India operations of 8 stores in India. Our stores in India range from 10,000 sqft + to as low as 200 sqft stores depending upon the inventory we choose to sell and the location of these stores.
Please give a break –up city wise if you are present across various cities/countries? How many of these are franchise outlets.
In India we have 8 stores and in Middle East we have approx. 17 stores.
What are the challenges with growing your (franchise) business – i.e. maintaining standards, brand integrity, customer experience etc. and how have you met these challenges?
Over the years the working of the handicraft industry has changed and the complexities have increased due to the changing demands of the industry. Fahad Zaroo who first understood these demands in 2010 started the revamping process with 14 stores abroad. And transformed Khazir sons into Khazir. A sophisticated brand store which understood the customer and the products better. It gave the Kashmir handicraft industry and the product much needed respect they very well deserved.
Currently we are working on the same concept in India with some fine turning and better Organization in India with first of its kind store opening in July in JW Marriott Juhu where the guest can be sure about the quality and pricing. We are also focusing on after sales services which were missing from our industry.
Can you tell us more about your business operations from the standpoint of Loyalty Program, technology (Hardware & software), raw material sourcing and talent recruitment & training?
We are not currently focused on any loyalty program as such but however this is a proposition which is open for future we are working on a lot of technology advancements. We are trying to build a database of our customers which focus on the after sales services based on the database. We will also create a guest information program on via reading material, emails, social media to inform guest better on the products both in terms of product information and usage information.
We are fortunate when it comes to the raw material procurement as we have a strong procurement Chanel established over year. We are In this business since 1880.
We are there to support the local industry in Kashmir. Therefore our 100 percent procurement is from Kashmir. We are also recruiting 90 percent of our staff from Kashmir therefore providing them opportunities to work outside the state with the products they know best.
Do you have a growth targets for the next few years and can you reveal any strategy for how you intend to achieve this?
We intent to be present in all the major premiere brand locations in India be it the top malls or five star hotel shopping areas in the coming few years. We are introducing Khazir to the Indian clientele. We want to be to the entire luxury hotel industry what khazana is to taj. Our strategy is simple provide the best quality at the best price but never compromising on the respect the client or the products deserves while purchasing from Khazir. It sounds simple but is difficult and complex to achieve.
Where would you like to see your Brand in the next 5 years?
My target is very clear. I wish to convert Khazir sons from an export giant to a retail giant in our industry. We want to go from limited set of clients to beings the product of choice to the elite. We want to make it known, the name and the trust that we have created over the years. Khazir is to become the first choice in carpets and shawls for any prospective client.