In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Aman Arora, Partner and COO, Keventers, shares how he plans to restart the iconic milkshake brand which was closed ten years before, together with his partners.
Tell us about the story of ‘Keventers‘ in India?
The company got established in 1922 by Edward Keventer, which had four factories in Delhi, Calcutta, Aligarh and Darjeeling. In 1940, he sold all his factories to three owners. The Delhi and Aligarh factory was sold to Ram Krishna Dalmiya who is the grandfather of my partner. From 1940-1980s, we were basically the manufacturers of milk, milk powders, biscuits, ice creams etc. The factory was in Malcha Marg, Chanakyapuri. Unfortunately, the factory got shut down in 80s as Malcha Marg got converted into a diplomatic zone. For the last 10-15 years, we weren’t operating at all and the business was run by distributors and franchisees only. This year, we have made a comeback, but we have not made any factories, we are starting as a retail food outlet.
How did the idea of relaunching your brand come in your mind?
Keventers is a very strong brand name with high nostalgic value in New Delhi. People of Delhi are very familiar with this brand; even I used to go there when I was a kid. If we would not have taken this initiative, the Keventers name would have been lost. So, last year, we decided to make a comeback.
We also see that the people are focused more on drinks and shakes. What is the reason behind it?
Juices and milk shakes have always been popular. People are now focused on diet products basically and they are looking for health options too, so they find drinks and shakes healthy that fits in their menu.
You have two partners together on board. How is it helping in bringing restaurateurs like Sohrab Sitaram into Keventers?
We started as two partners, but now we are three. We have been joined by one more partner who is Sohrab Sitaram. As we are very young in this industry, we thought of taking somebody with the experience and Sohrab has 18 years of experience in the same, and that has helped us to take this to a higher level.
How many varieties of milk shakes you are introducing? How do you maintain the quality of milk shakes you serve?
Currently, we have three categories; one is the classic milk shake for all. Second is flavoured shake for the new generation like tutti frutti, mint oreo etc. The third one is anti gravity, which is very much similar to the mcflurry. We have F&B managers and quality control departments, which work on doing research and help us in serving the best to our customers.
Who are some of the suppliers with whom you have partnered with?
We have no partners currently, we are doing it directly. We have just one outlet at Select Citywalk, Saket, but as we expand, we will get in touch with some of them.
You have opened your first outlet at Select Citywalk. Why?
Select Citywalk is by far the best mall in Delhi in terms of footfall and it gets you people from all over the city. You can see people from different ages, groups, and places, so it’s the best place for us to begin with.
You are also planning to develop a franchisee model for expansion. Are you in talks with the industry for expansion?
Eventually we will go for the franchisee model after we are done with opening 5-6 outlets of our own. We are not in talk with a third party as we have our partners who help us to expand our business in the right direction.
You are planning to target the young and experienced customers. What are some of the activities you are doing to involve your customers?
We are involving a lot on digital media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, apart from this, we are trying to attract customers through campaigns, which we will do in the first week of June, where we will invite people to make their own milkshakes. For the youth, we are planning newer shakes and some new flavours.
What is your expansion plan?
We currently want to run 6-7 outlets after that we will plan to move outside Delhi and will work to open around 15-20 more outlets.
Are you looking for any external accruals at present?
At present, we are not looking for any external investments.
Who do you see as your major competitor? What are you doing to tap the larger slice of the market?
In the milkshake category, there are not too many competitors, and our model is a bit different, so comparing with big chains will not be fair. To tap the larger slice of the market, we decided to choose the right locations, so all our locations are probably the best in Delhi right now. We have entirely changed the shape of the bottle, packaging and all such aspects.