In an interaction with Restaurant India, Sachin Awasthee, Executive Director, Ideal Hospitality Private Limited talks about getting Aromas Café to India.
Established in 1982 in Brisbane Aromas Café is one of the first coffee houses to establish a reputation for lounge, ambience, stylish service and great coffee with freshly made food accompanied with liquor. With classic, plush interiors coupled with memorable espresso and signature desserts, the Aromas Café experience is second to none. It was in early 2008 that the owners at Ideal Hospitality India got lured by this café and after a constant research for over a year the promoter Anuya Mhaiskar opened the first café in India. Excerpts from the interview:
How it all began?
We have done extensive research on trends and gaps in the market before finalizing the agreement with Aromas Café (Australia) to introduce the chain to India. The café sector (in India) has experienced substantial growth over the past few years with several more local and international chains joining the competition for market dominance. The true espresso houses however, continue to thrive and be that preferred option; offering character, quality and a perfect setting to catch up with friends, colleagues or family.
Is it a master franchise deal or a joint venture?
We do have single franchise outlet in Mumbai. However, we are yet to expand in other cities and it will be a master franchise deal for all other cities except Mumbai.
We see that globally 90 per cent of the restaurant brands are franchised. Why franchise as a model?
That’s true! Giving franchise is win-win for both the brand & franchise owners. Also, it takes years of experience to create a brand. By taking franchise, we don’t just sell the brand but we do share our experience along with it. Franchise owner are equipped with all tools to run a smooth business & grow as a partners. In return, brand gets faster expansion & presence. By giving master franchise, brand gets city wise owners which help in monitoring the business.
Aromas Café is known for its finest coffee in the Australian market. How are you staying true to its core product value?
We actively look to employee professional and well-presented staff, with an interest in the coffee industry and most importantly bringing a positive personality to the team. Our Baristas are trained by the Master Barista with live Skype feeds from the Australian Master Barista, allowing them exposure to international standards and providing insight into the origins of our signature award winning coffee blend and what it takes to make a perfect cup of coffee.
Food, contributes 65% of the revenue. So it is imperative that the kitchen team is trained by our experienced culinary leadership and our service team by our dedicated training Department. In addition to the ongoing IHPL training course program, the staff is given specialized training to ensure that they are equipped with sound food & beverage knowledge as well as industry best practice bench marks. They are encouraged to continuously work on their skills.
How much have you Indianised the menu keeping the local taste and preferences in mind?
60% of our menu is Indiniased to ensure we don’t loose on the larger target customers in India.
Who are your regular customers?
Coffee culture is spreading tremendously in our country. Mostly Residential & Corporates are our regular clientele. We see our loyal guest for all three time meals at all our outlets.
What is the average footfall at your cafes?
We cater to 1400 - 1500 people daily (for 7 outlets).
We see that all day dining as a trend is picking in India. Why did you choose to be a whole day dining place instead of café as your core service?
We started this trend and then others followed us. Being just a cafe will not satisfy us as we want to cater to all kind of guests. It should be one stop place when it comes to food, coffee with pair of wine & beer.
What is your plan expanding the brand (no. of outlets, cities in target)?
We believe in taking one step at a time. Hence, once we launch an outlet, we make sure that the operations are running smoothly and if ensured about so, we move on to planning the next outlet. We are about to reach a total number of 10 outlets in Mumbai soon. We are looking at expanding to tier 1 and tier 2 cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Goa, Gujarat and a few more. India is a country of coffee lovers and we hope to take the brand on a Pan-India level, serving the entire nation heartily.
What according to you would be the top trend ruling 2019?
Innovation will be the trend in both coffee & food industry. Earlier, it was about eating & drinking, however now along with the taste, people focus on presentation of the dish. Hence unique and efficient plating and service for dishes and beverages is going to be the top ruling trend in 2019.