In an interaction with Restaurant India, Saurabh Rathore, Founder & CEO, London Bubble Co talks about the growing trend o waffles.
The desire to be an entrepreneur has always been a part of Saurabh Rathore’s life. Having grown up in a business family he somewhat inherited those properties. A lot of the credit also goes to his ex boss who bought his ticket to India and pushed him to start on his own. It was in August 2016 when he came back to India only to discover a completely new India. “I was boggled to see QSRs growing rapidly and I really felt the need for an urban dessert that is light on the pocket and stomach,” shares Rathore who took four months to come up with London Bubble Co. Excerpts from the interview:
What were the challenges faced as waffle culture is not that prominent in the country?
Waffle has existed in India for years. It's just that the availability of it was limited because for the longest time it was considered as a premium product that was only catered to an X audience. It was never the product for masses. So, the challenge was right there, product awareness. Three key things that we focused on to overcome was to educate the masses on bubble waffles, pocket waffles, bubble shakes etc, to measure the same timely, and to ensure acceptability. Indian markets are dynamic and very complicated. There is a good chance that you may end up in a clutter. Our strategies were devised based on these three fundamentals and I am happy to see that waffle is one product that cannot be easily rooted out as the masses have started to accept it. It has become staple.
Tell us about your brand portfolio. Which is your favourite?
LBC offers a wide range of waffles, bubble waffles, bubble shakes and gelatos. LBC focuses on a wide range of audience so we have engineered our menu keeping that in mind. For the berry lovers, we have the berry bae, wild berry cream cheese, blueberry cream cheese etc. For chocolate lovers we got the roche rush, death by chocolate, magic waffle etc. We also have some funky stuff which is my absolute favourite. Black jack, London bubblegum and Gimme Nutella.
How about designing your restaurant?
This concept originated from London and thus we wanted a theme that is more English. You will find that the LBC interiors are very youth-centric as that age group contributes to 60 percent of our business. Having said that we didn't want to miss out on the old school London and thus you will see a lot of contrast within the space. We have added a good amount of sass to depict the street culture yet left it Victorian to keep it old school.
How are you marketing your brand?
We are in a digital age where social media has become the most powerful and an influential tool. It's a great platform to communicate with your target group, tabulate the data and devise strategies. London Bubble Co. largely appeals to the youth. The best way to reach out to them is on social media. We give a lot of emphasis on social media marketing.
How do you change yourself and your brand with pace of time?
One has to keep reinventing itself to survive in the game. Evolution is constant with a brand one needs to take this head on. There are quite a few things we are learning in the process as we are growing each day. As we are learning more things, we are devising strategies and these strategies differ in every situation. So, healthy change is inevitable and it's a great way to learn.
You have already opened 5 outlets in two months? How is the response?
The response has been beyond my expectations. And that is evident with the number of outlets we have managed to open within such a short time.
What is the average footfall?
The average footfall is around 250-300 tickets per day.
What is your expansion plan?
We have about 5 outlets in pipeline in the Mumbai region. Besides that we have a bunch coming in Kolkata, Pune, Gujarat and Chennai by the end next quarter. By 2019 end we are looking to open 200 outlets throughout Pan Asia, Middle east, and East Africa through franchising.
How about franchising as you have already on fast expansion?
Yes, we are open to franchising. I am very keen and excited to work with young entrepreneurs.