Duane Messerschmidt, Director of International Sales, Johny Rockets shares the starting up experience in India, reason for expansion and the legalities he went through while opening a restaurant in foreign country.
On foreign brands looking into Indian markets
India continues to emerge as a consumer-driven economy. It also represents the largest under-35 age demographic in the world and has a growing upper-middle class population. All three of these conditions are particularly attractive to retailers, like Johnny Rockets. It’s also a benefit that rural populations are moving into cities and newly established towns, which has created more concentrated economic development, throughout the country. For restaurants, this means that more people with more disposable income are dining out more often than before.
India continues to present franchising opportunities based on its large and rapidly expanding consumer market.
On selecting a location for your restaurant in India
Choosing the location for Johnny Rockets is something that we think as crucial as establishing success and growing the brand throughout any country. In India, the main cities of Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai will be the initial restaurant locations, based on a geographic point of view. In each city, the most prominent Mall/High street, with high foot traffic, will be most optimal – since our brand does extremely well in venues where people go to be entertained and have fun.
The difficulties involved in opening a restaurant in a foreign country go well beyond the legalities; there are legalities to deal with even in the USA. The primary difficulties are more involved with logistics, timing and culture. Sourcing the correct building materials, equipment and food products can prove to be quite challenging when dealing with new countries. Once the proper products are sourced, establishing an effective supply chain is the next hurdle to overcome. Beyond these challenges are the challenges of ensuring that the Johnny Rockets brand will be culturally acceptable to the new country. This requires an extensive amount of consideration. In India, for example serving beef is not appropriate where we serve it around the globe.
On taking the franchisee route
All of Johnny Rockets international restaurants are operated by franchisees. We believe that this is the most effective business model for both our guests and for Johnny Rockets. For our brand to truly be accepted around the world, it is important for us to ensure that the people charged with operating the brand are attuned to the nuances of not only conducting business in each country, but also to the guests expectations and satisfaction with our brand. While we may consider ourselves to be experts in the Johnny Rockets business, we certainly understand that we are not experts in regards to conducting business in India. For these reasons, we have selected a team of expert Indian businessmen to represent the Johnny Rockets brand in India.
On target customers
Johnny Rockets has universal appeal across all age groups and lifestyles, which is why our brand succeeds in traditional mall locations as well as non-traditional venues that include casinos, airports, military bases, aquariums, theme parks and stadiums. To put it simply, Johnny Rockets combines the best elements from a century of American dining history to create an experience and menu that are relevant today and will be for decades to come. Our target customer is anyone who eats and wants to have an all-American dining experience.