In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Abhay Sharma, COO- Menchie's talks about creating a healthy revolution in India.
What made you bring Menchie’s to India?
We had few investors who wanted to invest internationally. We came across Menchie’s in a small town in Canada and did some research around frozen yogurt and found out that in India there was no real competition during that time and the quality of product being served was not up to the mark. So, wanted to bring that revolution in the food and prove that health and taste can be maintained at the same time. The whole idea of bringing an international frozen yogurt brand to India is to make our people understand about being healthy.
How many stores are there as of now?
We have got seven franchisee stores as of now in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai and Vijaywada.
How decide on franchisees? What are the selection criteria?
We have franchisees for different regions we are present in. Generally, we prefer to have one franchisee to develop a city because this protects the franchisee relations and interest in expanding the brand. There is no point developing lots of franchisee for same city where everyone is fighting for the same business which is not a healthy franchisee practice.
We like to get onboard people who are aware about the concept. The franchisee also needs to be involved with the job and hence personal involvement of the franchise is very important at the store in terms of making the store profitable. They need to have the financial capital to sustain growth.
How is Menchie’s different from other frozen yogurt brand present in India?
Menchie’s has set things differently from day one. We were probably only frozen yogurt brand in India preparing frozen yogurt from fresh snog. We do not serve any powdered product. The product is stored at -18 degree Celsius and transported at that temperature. So, the cold storage and transportation is very expensive. And, that’s where we stand ahead of the crowd. People associate frozen yogurt with powdered yogurt and that’s where we are bringing in the change. We are making it from fresh snog and that’s how it is done internationally especially with Menchie’s as they have their own dairy even in the US. We follow the same process here and everything is done on day level. The quality is better than any other ice cream and yogurt brand in market. People love our product and it’s better than ice cream because it’s healthier and tastes better.
What is the average footfall at your outlets?
The footfall varies because we have got stores at Bandra in Mumbai which has very high volume and then we have got a store at Vijayawada which obviously wouldn’t match. So, we cannot call it an average because each individual location has its own set footfalls.
You have chosen South and west over north as location. Why?
Traditionally if you look and study the Indian market the west and south are the first one to embrace any new concept also the acceptability of the product is much faster in these region as compared to north. Though north is the highest market in terms of revenue but they take some time to embrace the new concept. Also, the franchisees who applied us were all from west and south region and that’s how it happened. But , we will soon be heading to this market as well.
Tell us about your wide variety of menu?
India has about 120 flavours. We have got five different bases- a regular base, a chocolate base and a chart base for people who want a tangy taste and sorbet base which is for people who are lactose intolerant and it doesn’t have any milk component. We have a team which does R&D on daily basis and we keep running our products on daily basis. We launched with 80 products initially expanding to 120 flavours.
The cake batter and cookies in cream are the biggest flavour that we sell at our restaurant.
Who is your target customer?
We want to cater to a child of three years old to a 100 year old. Our target is to have everyone included because at the end of the day we want everyone to eat frozen yogurt and be there in the health revolution we want to create.
What is your expansion plan?
We plan to do 50 stores in next two years. We are planning to open Delhi-NCR this summer. We are not focusing on any particular city to expand but the priority is going to the mature cities first. We are open to an overall expansion because we want to be a brand which is catering to tier-II and tier-III cities.