An interaction with Asvin Simon, Founder, Bangs Hospitality India Pvt Ltd.
Talking to Restaurant India, Asvin reveals how he become a restaurateur from an engineer and also shares his experience of expanding his business pan India and abroad.
How is the Bangs chicken different from other QSR brands?
We wanted to start a QSR with a different format. We focused on fried chicken which is completely the Indianised version, with Indian flavours. Our fried chicken and the burger is the USP of the brand.
How has been the journey from an engineering graduate to an IT firm owner and then finally starting a QSR chain? How the idea of opening a restaurant came to your mind?
I was very much interested to start something in food when I was in college. However, my parent had different plans and wanted me to join the corporate world. After completion of my studies, I decided to start an IT firm with investment of around Rs 5 lakh by my parents and started E Valley Career Solutions focusing on software training and solutions. After its success, I thought of doing something which I wanted to and started small kiosks with about Rs 5 lakh of investment. It started to become a hit in Chennai very soon. After its success in Chennai we started moving to North India with franchise format of the restaurant.
What is your expansion plan of your brand in India and abroad as it was in news that ‘Bangs’ is looking for a strategic investor?
We are looking to start 500 outlets in the next five years and out of the 500 outlets, 400 will be franchise outlet. We are also planning to start 15outlets in this year and we will be finalising another 40 outlets very soon. To fuel this growth, naturally we are looking at funding opportunities. We will be looking for the investors to act as an external support.
Who all are the investors on board now?
We don’t have any external funding as of now. The brand is completely bank funded.
How many franchise outlets do you have and how has franchising helped the brand in achieving its target?
We currently have 32 franchise outlets in India. In the initial period the franchising has helped taking our business to the next level. Franchising gives a lot of support; you have the control and the system playing the game. For example, if I wanted to open a store in Delhi I am unaware about the city in that case franchising help as an external support.
You have outlet operational in Qatar. What were the legalities involved in taking your business outside India?
We have a local partner in Dubai with whom we signed the deal in 2011 and the restaurant was operational since 2014. When it comes to legal aspect, there is a completely different scene in Qatar. It takes at least a year to start your operation in other country. You need to have certain approvals done from the state and the local authority.
Do you consider any international brand as your competitor? What are the strategies that you have developed for Bangs and how is it different from brands like KFC, Mc Donalds and Dominos.
I do not see anybody as a competitor. Today people know from where they are ordering their food, they are aware about the brand. We started Bang’s to cater to the Indian people keeping in mind the local taste which the big brands could not deliver. India is a diverse country, here taste changes with demography and you can not satisfy every customer. So, we at Bang’s have brought something unique where we can satisfy every customer.
If you look at our presence, we are present in almost all the small cities where the brands like Dominos, KFC and McDonalds couldn’t reach.
What advise you have for a budding entrepreneur in the food business?
Food business needs a lot of patience, energy and understanding the business very well.