In an exclusive interview to Bakshish Dean, CEO, Prime Gourmet (P) Ltd which operates Johnny Rockets brand in India talks about the brand presence in India over the next two years and why is it slow on throwing the numbers when it comes to opening new out
Tell us about your operations in India. How is the response so far?
Johnny Rocket as a brand has done well for a year and half in India and even the response is also good. Now we are looking at pan India expansion, but not an aggressive expansion because our focuses is getting the right location and working on outlet and making it profitable. Unlike other chains that grow aggressively, we grow slowly and our location should be ideal. We want the restaurant to be profitable and we are working on that and other aspects like product or service delivery. We are happy with all our developments.
We have seen lots of food brands entering under the same segment. Do you see any threat from any of the brand?
When a brand enters any market, there is competition, and we are under casual dinning segment. I don’t see any threat because I am very confident about our product which we are selling. It has an edge over others on which we have really worked hard. All the products and even the menu are American but at the same time it is developed with 100 percent local ingredients. There are just one or two sauces which we have imported but now I am working on it. I have been a part of this restaurant as an operator for two years.
What are the legalities involved in bringing a global brand to the Indian market?
When you bring a brand in a country, you have to look into a number of things. From legal aspect, I really don’t think the local authorities have any issue of brining a brand into but legalities in terms of company, will it invest with you or not. In India, this company is owned by us. The three partners Vishal Chawdhary, Sachin Goyal, Gurav Sharma, owned the brand and they tied up and brought it here.
You have to pay royalties, new store opening free etc. We also compile to all legal laws which are associated in operating a restaurant.
What according to you, the contribution of a good menu in a restaurant business?
This is one of the most important aspects to bring a menu which connects with the people according to their palates and a good mix of varieties. Menu is very American in our case. It has developed a lot of vegetarian options keeping the taste profile in mind with original taste. We tried to bring specific dishes of Indian taste like Tandori Flavor or Indian in nature but have not done well in our menu.
If you go to Johnny Rockets, you will want to experience it, a new image American operation. We call it “American express”, typical American operation and that we have managed.
As you are operating under the casual dining segment. What is your view on the current trends in restaurant industry? Which trend is getting hot these days?
If u looks around, lot of non industry people entering the market and that in a way is very good as they are coming with a very fresh perspective and approach. It is a very nice work and they want to do in a specialized line and give you vibrancy and the music is contemporary. They are contributing a lot in the overall development of the restaurant industry. Seasoned players are also opening with new concepts.
What is the contemporary food you make, especially for Delhites?
The word contemporary has many interpretations. So when we say contemporary, we don’t do. We work on aspects like making it healthier like using natural flavors and use 100 percent meat. Most of the company who are in this trade can sell a burger much cheaper than us because the protein they use is only 30-40 percent and rest other things is only fillers. So they can sell cheaper. Our protein or shakes are 100 percent pure.
It is said “Quality comes with price”. The entire cooking medium in our organization is all Trans fat free and that comes 30 percent more expensive than the regular brands in the market. These initiatives which we have taken up will carry us further.
What is your expansion plan, as we can see that Johnny Rockets is going very slow when it comes to throwing number of outlets?
Like earlier I said, we want to go really slow and cautious and make sure that in each outlet we put enough effort to enhance everything that we want to create till we reach 100 percent.
Along with that we are working on cost down and brand specific equipments which we have to procure from US. The amount of taxation and import duty is very high and we are also exploring as of now. Currently initial development is in mall only and then we would like to go high street and restaurants.
As per your observation and experience, how international cuisines are helping the Indian restaurants to grow manifolds?
Beauty of this well established concept from developed countries is very well formatted; right from their supply chain is formatted. The operation, the way they run operation is well documented and everything is defined. When they want to enter in the market like India or countries which are not developed that much, it helps us to format ourselves. The children or people, who will work with us, will get the exposure.