In an exclusive interaction with Prashant Gupta, Director, Polo Foods, he shares how the eastern market consumes as compared to other markets.
Tell us about your brand’s journey till today and milestone you have achieved so far?
Our journey has been very dynamic in a very short span of time. We started in August 2014 and currently have two operational stores and six stores in the pipeline. A milestone we have achieved is our ability to execute stores efficiently as per Forever Yogurt's brand standards. And, I think this execution capability will be a key differentiator amongst QSR brands as the market becomes conducive to scale up.
How many stores you run currently and how many you are going to start in near future?
We have two company owned stores operational, including one at Quest Mall at Kolkata. We also have six stores in various stages of development.
What kind of consumption pattern you observe in your region? What kind of products is more popular amongst consumers?
Forever Yogurt is a very innovative and dynamic brand. We introduce at least a new flavour/product every month to better serve the needs of our customers. Our Caramel cupcake Frozen Yogurt has been an instant hit. In fact, it was introduced as a limited time offer but we have decided to extend the tenure of the product keeping the customer demand in mind.
We also see a marked trend in people replacing meals with healthy food options.
What are your preferred real estate choices when it comes to running retail business in East India? Do malls earn greater revenue per square feet or it is the high street outlets that give you good return?
There is no set formula. We think that every location has its own individual characteristics. At Polo Foods we have developed our own proprietary location evaluation tools and use the same, which helps us identify the right locations. Currently we are developing outlets in North, Central and East India.
Share your personal views on any particular High street or Mall that gives good per square feet revenue earned in any of the mentioned format recently.
Locations that meet certain specific criteria are conducive and let you achieve higher realisation per square feet. For instance our very own POLO MAX Food Courts at Allahabad and Jabalpur Railway Station match those criteria, high footfall, good visibility, comfortable seating and a complimentary product mix.
What kind of growth opportunity you see in your area of operation? How has been the response so far to your brand?
We have the rights to South Asia for Forever Yogurt which includes the countries India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal. We are overwhelmed with the response to Forever Yogurt since it is the first authentic frozen yogurt brand in South Asia.
Customers have appreciated our signature city specific murals and chic industrial looking store design. We have also received strong appreciation for our entire range of frozen yogurt especially Madagascar Vanilla and Very Strawberry flavour, Chocolate waffle and Mashmellow Hot Chocolate.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
We are obsessively focussed on making our customers happy by providing delightfully delicious, nutritious and hygienic frozen yogurt. The gushing reviews on our popular facebook page - facebook.com/fyindia are testament to this.
What are your future plans in terms of expansion and expanding product portfolio?
Polo Foods QSR aims to be one of the largest QSR players in India with a focus on outlet wise profitability rather than mere 'dots on the map' expansion.
We think that the growing population of double income families and working professionals in our country is perfectly suited to provide an environment of rapid growth for a brand like ours, which inspires customers with unique, never seen before items like our dreamy hot chocolate marshmallow. From a potential franchisees perspective the brand involves low labour cost due to our self serve format and allows the franchisees to accelerate the rate of return on investment. This will be a key enabling factor in our quick growth since majority of all Forever Yogurt outlets are franchise operated.
Do you have any plan to launch an IPO soon?
We are constantly evaluating ways to fund our long term capital needs though we have no current plans of launching an IPO.