An interview with Tarun Sikka, Managing director, Star Foods Speciality.
In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Tarun Sikka reveals the secret of wooing Indians via Swiss way. With the launch of Movenpick’s first ice cream boutique in Select Citywalk Mall, New Delhi, the ice cream brand is sensing good growth prospect in the country.
Why did you choose to become the exclusive store partner and distributor for Movenpick in India?
We pitched for Mövenpick and competed against other companies to represent Mövenpick in India. We chose to represent the brand in India because we believed that the product is unique and has many attributes that suit the Indian market. Also we felt that the Indian market have matured and an acceptance for a brand with high quality both in product and experience will be much appreciated in India. And lastly after meeting the team from Movenpick (Nestle Super Premium) we realised a common goal, vision and complimentary business practices which are uncommon in most businesses today.
While managing your Star Foods business and constant expansion of the same business from hotel to hotels, what encourages you to introduce Movenpick Swiss ice cream delicacies to the Indian consumers?
The Indian hospitality sector is one of the fastest growing in the world. The premium market is growing at an even faster rate. In the next five years, India & China will become two of our important markets. A large part of this growth is driven by the young upwardly mobile professionals who are brand and quality conscious. As such Mövenpick's super premium offer and market positioning are aligned with India's growth patterns. Indians are now looking for premium tastes with international quality and standards. Indian's have always been passionate about food and we hope our gastronomic delights will be well received.
Why did you specifically choose the Select Citywalk to launch the first Movenpick exquisite ice cream parlour?
Select City walk is one of the premium malls which attract a premium clientele that appreciate quality. It is important that our locations are positioned in the same market space as our brand.
Restarting the brand activities in India, will there be any new innovations which can boost the sale of your product in India?
I don't believe we need to. Indians are now looking for premium tastes with international quality and standards. Mövenpick has a unique Swiss offering that is proving to be well received in over 40 countries around the world. Our mission is not to try and offer an Indian version of our brand but to simply showcase Mövenpick's unique brand and its uniformity.
As per the media reports, you are concentrating on café model format in India? How do you think, this model would work in India?
The Indian customer is no more looking for just a product, they are looking for an experience from the minute they enter a premises, especially in the super premium segment. Therefore in order to provide our customer the same experience for Mövenpick as anywhere else in the world we felt that the café model will be best suited. Also the café model allows us to offer complementary products such as waffles, pancakes and other recipes including coffee. The desert café concept is in our opinion growing at a even faster rate than just the ice cream industry.
The range and variety of ice creams offered by the existing Indian and other international brands from the food and beverage industry already gratify the Indian consumers sufficiently to be choosy, what is so unique and special about your product which you believe will drive the Indian customers at your doorsteps?
There are three key dimensions that differentiate Mövenpick ice cream in the market. First- our passion for gastronomy. Mövenpick is an ice cream made by chefs for chefs. It was created for the fine dining restaurants of Europe and its gastronomic heritage is at the heart of all our unique recipes. It is this that allows us to create flavours such as, Tiramisu, Panna Cotta, Crème Brulee to name a few. The second dimension is our all natural policy. All our ice cream is made only using 100 percent natural ingredients with no artificial colours, flavours or additives. Only the finest ingredients sourced from all over the globe are used in our recipes. Our third dimension is of course Swiss Perfection, all our ice cream is made in Switzerland using only Swiss cream and made to an exacting standard. Movenpick has long been a pioneer in ice cream recipes and today can be enjoyed in over 40 countries around the world.
What are the chief factors responsible for the success of Movenpick brand internationally apart from the hospitality services? And do you believe the same factors will be vital here as well in our home country?
Our brand is unique, which is a vital aspect for the Indian market. The difference between Movenpick and other brands is the intensity of the taste and unique flavours which is otherwise not available in India.
The desserts by Movenpick seems to be specially designed, crafted and fashioned with swiss perfection in order to tempt the customers towards your great delights, can you please explains why it is being served in an entirely new avatar?
Movenpick’s products are served in a whole new avatar, keeping in mind the demand of the customers. Movenpick as a brand is largely successful in countries like Australia. We not only focus on taste but an experience as well. Our products are visually appealing and tempting as well which holds a great advantage for us. We want our consumers to come to our boutiques and take back an experience with them.
Can you please elaborate more on the quality, price and the standards which have been set for your product in order to dwell in the Indian market and sustain while competing with already renowned brands in India.
India has a largely growing premium sector which now demands for high end premium products. To keep in tune with the market segment and the demand, our prices are highly competitive.
A rival brand HaagenDazs against Movenpick is in the Indian arena too, what’s your take?
HaagenDazs has been in India for over 3 years and is doing pretty well. We on the other hand our expanding our model and would like to concentrate on our own USP and strengths rather than talking about others.
Would you like to indicate the prime factors which differentiates and separates your brand from HaagenDazs?
I would not like to comment on the question.
Which cities you’ll be targeting for expansion and reach in India?
We plan to expand to Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chandigarh and have even more outlets in the Delhi NCR region.