In an interaction with Restaurant India, Sameer Lamba, MD, Kwal’s Group talks about expanding IHOP to India.
What was the whole idea of bringing IHOP to India and how do you look at the market?
I wanted to bring the breakfast segment to India and nobody does it better than IHOP. That’s the reason I brought the brand to India. I went to the US for some work and found IHOP there. We want to establish a brand in India which I hope run all day long.
Who is your target customer?
We tried to make it no expensive but affordable; anybody could afford it. We have kept the breakfast for INR 400 per head and it’s not expensive at all. Mostly we have focused on family and togetherness as IHOP brings the families together in all global markets it is present.
How much did you customize the menu keeping in mind the typical Indian taste?
People today are much more aware about eating American food. There is much more knowledge about American food amongst the diners. There is lesser need of customization today than it was earlier. Anybody coming to an American restaurant is there to eat American thing. If you want to eat Indian then you can walk in into an Indian restaurant. We don’t even needed much customization as the pancakes are pure vegetarians and if we talk about eggs then 90% people in India eat eggs today so there is no need of customization.
How are you promoting your brand as it is a new kind of concept in the market?
We’re promoting our brand as much as we can. We are advertising in Rapid Metro and we have even advertised in media as advertisement does play a vital role in placing a brand right.
How do you see the competition from online food service sector?
Most of the businesses are going online. The food can never go online, the food which we are serving here. And obviously there will be competition but IHOP has prepared to cope up that by experimenting with technology.
What is the plan expanding the business?
We have sign a deal for 20 restaurants in 10 years. We could do it faster or slower depending on the demand but we do not want to be the restaurant which is everywhere. We are planning to open 3 more in Delhi-NCR for now. We are looking for Central Delhi; hopefully in next few weeks or months. We have kept one target for this year and maybe another next year.