You are running a multi brand restaurant chain in India. How difficult/easy for you to manage Oriental Cuisines?
Oriental Cuisines is an organization, driven by people who carry their brands with a sense of ownership. While it is not easy to run a business with multiple brands at this scale, it takes immense focus from the entire team to deliver.
We see that Oriental Cuisine is a big name in south market. According to you which are your top two restaurants and why?
While the Benjarong and Ente Kerelam are strong fine dine concepts focused around high quality authentic food, Wangs Kitchen has emerged as strong growth driver as a model for tasty Chinese cuisine.
Since, it’s been a few months since you joined Oriental Cuisines. What changes you are making in terms of growth?
We have been spending time inwards to model our businesses for the next level of growth, building efficient models to populate markets and identifying spaces for future growth. For this to remain sustainable we are putting focus on our internal systems to become a more distributed organization.
You have already expanded a lot in India owing to 100+ outlets. How about going international?
India has great potential for growth; there are clusters and cities with growing urban population from 3 mio to 5 mio. While there exists great potential within the country we are open to expansion internationally.
It is believed that franchising is an important part of expanding a brand beyond certain geographies. How is it helping you grow?
Franchising helps create value for both the Franchise as well as the Brand. It is key to drive down investment for the cost of ownership and build a profitable model.
How many franchised outlet you have as of now. What is the plan going forward?
Since, we began franchising a short while ago, we have clocked over 25 outlets and plan to grow through a mix of owned and operated stores. We have a healthy pipeline of projects under execution, we are optimistic of doubling these numbers in a very short period of time.
How do you decide on selecting the right franchising partner?
In this business it is important to understand the goals of the perspective franchisee, are they taking up a franchise to test this segment as they have made investments in other businesses? Or are they taking up an investment for the first time. We work on suggesting the right fit from our portfolio based on the partner’s goals.
Since, Oriental Cuisine was one of the first brands to promote the culture of food courts in India. How do you see the culture growing in India?
While oriental cuisines have been operating food courts in India, there are untapped potential in this area of business. People will continue to gravitate towards spaces that allow them freedom to choose, offer hygienic food and still satisfy the local taste. This is an excellent platform for brands to operate in a strong marketplace.
What is your top 5 takes for building a brand?
My takes to build a brand can be summarized as follows: Great Food, Awesome Service, Consistency, active to your customers, Motivated and Engaged Employee Culture.
Going forward, what can we see happening at Oriental Cuisines. (no. of outlets, cities)?
At Oriental we are focusing on the next growth drivers and brands, products that appeal to a larger base of consumers. Our focus is to explore to 5 new markets in the next 4 quarters, and maintain a healthy growth. Our outlook is to cross 300 stores in a 3 year time frame. We will continue to populate markets where we have an operating base