In an interaction with Restaurant India, Coutinho talks about his comeback at Graviss Foods, focusing on how to deliver the right message to customer and also about the ice cream business.
Comeback at Graviss Foods
The experience gathered at Barista Lavazza and Papa John’s Pizzas and the challenge to lead Graviss Foods in its transformation to a mainline F&B player were the primary reasons for my homecoming. Having worked with Baskin Robbins for seven years prior to my stint with Barista Lavazza, there was a comfort in the company and the industry. I had seen many changes and been involved with the turnaround and growth of Baskin Robbins in India.
Coffee retailing in India
I have always maintained that India has space for at least 5,000 cafes. The current players have only touched the tip. Importantly, sales of non coffee products match sales of coffee based products in these cafes. These cafes are ‘hang-out joints’ for the youth, third place for them outside their home.
Targeting Tier-II and Tier III cities
Baskin Robbins follows a cluster approach in expansion. We have mapped over 200 cities through a process called ‘micro pocket mapping’. We are present in 135 cities with bulk of our business focussed on the top 20. And among this there are many Tier II & Tier III cities.
In the next 2-3 years, we are focussed on consolidation of our business in the existing cities to drive efficiencies and optimise resources. This consolidation will also drive consumer experience and visibility in these cities. In our category, a key role is played by infrastructure and cold chain development which is currently at infancy as we go down the town strata
Slowing down during extreme climate
We have seen no slowdown in our business despite the fact that during peak summers and winters (extreme climate) consumers do not venture out to the parlours. The phenomenon is also prevalent in Mumbai during the monsoons wherein venturing out for an ice cream is difficult. We have a very robust home delivery business which picks up during these periods when consumers’ desire for a dessert is high.
Communicating right message to customers
The parlours at Baskin Robbins are our sources to connect with consumers. Besides store communications, we connect with the new age media like Facebook and have 7.3 million followers over there.
Educational opportunities to employees
Graviss Group offers ‘Employee Nurturance and Delight’ programme and as part of this we invest in our employees and help them grow. To help employees in their professional life, we have sponsored many employees to professional courses in Business Communication (Indo American Society & ITM), Sales Leadership (IIM), WOW your customer (Adecco) etc.
Beside educational opportunities, we provide our employees opportunities across functions within the group. This helps them hone their latent skills and develops them professionally.