As it’s been more than 6 months of Jamie’s entry into Indian market. How has been the journey?
The journey so far was very encouraging. We’ve launched two formats - Jamie's Italian (JI) and Jamie's Pizzeria (JP) and both are doing well. The idea with JI is to offer a full Italian experience at prices normally only found in casual dining pizza restaurants and for JP to offer amazing quality pizzas at a price close to QSR. The plan seems to be working but the trick in restaurants is constant innovation and talking to customers. You can never, ever be complacent.
What are the growing challenges with growing business?
Restaurants can be quite complicated (and fascinating) because they involve almost every aspect of business: product, marketing, real estate, people, supply chain, IT, production and so on. Of these getting good real estate is probably the most challenging, especially in the India market where there's been a big upswing in new brands and formats.
You have opened around two outlets in India. How are you finalising the location for each of the outlet?
By spending day and night over a long period studying the sites. There's also a lot of science in this and these days it's important to analyse every aspect of a site from traffic flows, to competition to expenditure to local tastes and so on. There's also a lot of work done on lease terms, capital expenditure plans, maintenance requirements. It's a big and crucial job especially as competition increases. If the real estate model does not stack up, it can be very hard to make the P+L work.
What is the biggest hurdle bringing a global chain to India?
Making the right calls on product, quality and price is very important. The reason Jamie's brands are so affordable is that we've spent years working out what people want to eat and the price they are willing to pay. Of course it's a price sensitive market and we want customers to come to us regularly.
How are you marketing Jamie’s in India?
We are doing it in many ways, but word of mouth is most important. Here we host regular meals for our fans to get feedback and to help them spread the word. We are very active on social media as well as advertising outdoors and in print. We think that the key is having something meaningful and new to say which really comes back to our food and constant innovation.
As you are also operating other restaurant brands. How do you maintain the authenticity of each of the brand at one time?
Yes, we operate Wendy's in India and our shareholder group manages Kylin and Barista. Each brand has a separate management team with people who are empowered to deliver. But we also share knowledge and have certain common resources which we see as an advantage. In the end, success in restaurants in India or anywhere comes down to learning and applying the learning. To this end we have a lot of people and a lot of learning
Going forward where we can see Jamie’s expanding its wings in India?
It's all about one restaurant at a time and this year will see us add a few new sites but not many. For us, it's very important to take time in the early stage and work out how to delight our customers. Doing many sites is far easier than getting consistent delivery and all the things that go in to this. But in the end, customers want consistency and restaurants fail when this gets lost in a rush to grow. Slow then grow is our motto
As you are mostly catering to Italian cuisine. How about sourcing of the raw materials?
The extraordinary thing about Jamie's is that we source the vast majority of our ingredients in India and have only a handful of imports. This is a big story in its own right and a celebration of the amazing produce we enjoy in India. But it's bigger than this because the Jamie's sourcing standards and ethics are very high. So, getting local produce at world-class standards feels like a big win and it's certainly a big win for our customers
We have seen that global brands have grown faster in India. How about taking the franchising route?
All in due course once we are confident we have the right, consistent customer offer and that the business model makes good sense. Many brands are entering the market whether global or local. Entering is easier than staying the course and staying the course means delivering superior investment returns. Franchising is conceptually attractive as long as quality is maintained.