Over the last few years, Maroosh has grown from a single outlet to a brand running 21 outlets in Mumbai and Pune alone. The chain, with a 350 sq ft food court and high street model, sells approximately 12-14 lakh business monthly, which is way ahead of the 2,400-2,500 sq ft outlet global chains like McDonald’s or Domino’s. You are known for giving Mumbai a night life in terms of food. What made you exit from the alcohol business focusing into the restaurant part only?
We started in 1997-1999, and at that time, the vacuum was there for night clubs. There were only pubs in the city, and nobody actually tried to open night clubs. So we wanted to fill that vacuum by starting the night club life and we saw opportunity there.
From night club we moved into restaurant space in 2004 because we heard from the industry that it is the food that is going to grow and not the alcohol space. Also, with alcohol there comes a lot of headache. So we very cautiously diverted ourselves from alcohol business to food business and now we have the Lebanese QSR chain, Maroosh, which we started in 2001 with one outlet which has grown to 21 now in Pune and Mumbai.
What is your expansion plan?
Last year we got funded from Ronnie Screwalla and we raised approximately at a valuation of 45 crores. Last year we raised 16 crore and this year again we raised 10 crore which is partly with the new investors called TCVF and Ronnie investing into B series. So we raised 1.5 million, out of which, 1 million was from TCVF and the rest from Ronnie.
I have heard that Ronnie is at 43 per cent stake with you? After the fresh round of funding where do you stand today?
Ronnie was at 43 per cent stake last year and I was at 57 per cent before we got the other investors on board. Now I am at 54 per cent, TCVF at 7 per cent and Ronnie at 39 per cent.
Tell us something about your expansion plan for Maroosh?
With this round of funding we are planning to keep our backend in proportion. We are also partnering with companies like Cremica and Vista who will help us in pan-India delivery. So, we are planning to take the number count to 32 by March adding 10-11 outlets of Maroosh. Four outlets are already in the pipeline which we will open in next 30 days between Mumbai and Pune. We do not want to do the mistake of entering other cities with just one outlet. But we really want to give our heart and soul to each city marketing right into that city, stabilising the first few stores and then moving to other cities with a full plan. And in the next financial year we are looking for another 40-45 outlets which will take the count to 75 outlets. We are targeting cities like Bengaluru and Goa and we are entering Sri Lanka in the next phase.
What are the numbers of outlet that you are targeting for Sri Lankan market?
For Sri Lankan market, we are looking at 4-5 outlets for 2016-17 because it is not that large a market. The idea to get into the Sri Lankan market was that we were approached by lots of regional franchisees. We can enter into a partnership model as well but for Maroosh as a brand, a particular outlet needs an investment of 25 lakh.
What is your revenue from a single outlet?
On an average, we have revenue of 12-14 lakh per outlet but there are outlets which are doing 19-20 lakh per month. And as of now, we are around 24 crores with 21 outlets and by March we are projected to grow at 28 crores with 32 outlets.
What is your unique marketing strategy?
Product is the key to any restaurant business. I can put thousands of bucks in marketing but if the product is not right, nobody would come to you. So, to make your customer visit you again and again, try and focus on your product.