In an exclusive interaction with Restaurant India, Rohit Aggarwal, Director, Lite Bite Foods, shares his plans to enter the US market, focusing mainly on Indian foods.
You started your business with franchisee of Subway and today you have multiple brands running across segments. How was the journey in all these years?
The journey has been very exciting in all these years. The industry has taught us in all the years that we have been operational. The F&B sector has been really dynamic and interesting however it requires you to be hands on in order to get satisfactory results.
What is your expansion plan in India and abroad?
We have a very extensive expansion plan in place. We plan to add a couple of more Punjab Grill, Street Foods by Punjab Grill and Baker Street outlets in India and abroad. We are also launching a Gastropub called ‘The Local’ in the West part of Delhi on the 22nd of January, 2015.
What is the reason behind entering into the US market with a new brand, American Tandoor?
The US market is known for conspicuous consumption as people eat out a lot in that part of the world. Since, there are a plethora of well-known restaurants in the US, we look forward to establish in the competitive market. There is a huge demand of Indian cuisine in USA and we are known for offering some of the best Indian cuisine in India. Therefore we decided to come up with ‘The American Tandoor’.
How have you designed the menu of the brand keeping in mind the Americans?
The menu that we are coming up with has been designed keeping in mind both local Americans and Indians residing in the nearby vicinity. We have tried to create a harmonious fusion in our menu that will appeal to the taste buds and demand of the audience there.
What is your investment plan? Are you planning to take any external accruals?
There is a huge investment plan considering the expansion that we are aiming at. Lite Bite Foods will invest over Rs 100 crore in the next two-three years through internal accruals to grow its existing portfolio of brands in India and overseas.
No, there are no external accruals, as the investment will happen from the board of directors itself.
You and Amit Burman have together built the LBF. Which part of the business was done under your guidance and what was under Amit’s?
Yes, we have built LBF together and involve ourselves in every decision making. No matter how busy our schedules are, we are synchronized on a day to day basis. I largely involve myself in operations, Marketing and Business Development, whereas Amit spends most of his time in Strategizing and Finance.
What according to you will be the ruling trend in 2015 as we have seen new gastronomies entering India?
Indian cuisine undoubtedly is here to stay forever. Although the industry is witnessing various new formats, seasonal and locally produced ingredients make the best dish. Experimenting and presenting the Indian cuisine in different ways and avatars should always be considered.
How will you place your brand in the US market? What market strategy you are planning?
We are constantly studying the US market in order to come up with the best strategy in order to position ourselves correctly in the highly competitive segment. However, with the kind of offline and online resources we are practicing on building high confidence among the team.