Manjit Singh in 1985 started his own bakery exclusively for bread with a single traditional oven. In 1994, Bonn set up the first automated food processing unit in North India. Second automated line was added in 2002, the first plant to manufacture cookies at an industrial scale in India and finally diversified to biscuits in 2006. In 2016, Bonn launched its premium biscuits range under the brand Americana. In early 2016, the group forayed into QSR business with LA Americana Burger; opening stores at prime locations in Delhi. La Americana’s gourmet breads, which are non-preservative breads, were launched in 2018. At present, Bonn has 11 manufacturing units; the most recent one have been taken on lease at Mysore as manufacturing plant for the strategic push into the Southern market. Another plant at Sonepat, Haryana is also in the pipeline. By 2020, Bonn expects to have a full pan India network. Experts from the interview:
What was the motivation behind transferring the biscuit journey from sugars to digestives?
Although the biscuit industry as a whole is growing at a CAGR of about 11.4%, premium biscuits, which contain some of the healthiest ingredients that a biscuit can have, namely, whole grain digestive biscuits, that aid stomach health, are witnessing about 25% growth year-on-year. This has been attributed to rising disposable incomes, global lifestyles and increasing health conscious consumer preferences.
What made you enter into the QSR segment when you were already running a wide range of FMCG products?
Linking growth to changing consumer preferences is something every business must do to thrive and gain competitive advantage. Our baked products are already in demand and being used by a large number of food chains for their decisive quality and impeccable value for money. There is a clear demand for cooked foods and foods on-the-go. Considering that the QSR market is growing at a CAGR of 25%, expecting a leap from INR 8,500 crore in 2015 to INR 25,000 crore by 2020, it made natural sense to utilize our long legacy and expand into this segment.
How many restaurants are you running presently and what is the expansion plan?
At the moment, Bonn has two prominent QSR outlets in Delhi, within sometime we are opening third outlet at Dwarka. Further moving ahead, LA Americana is expanding in both ways; no. of outlets and explicit menu. Within two years, we are planning to open 10 more outlets in Delhi-NCR and currently we are in the process of expanding its menu through new flavors and recipes. We have also added two new dessert items – a choco lava cake and a chocolate brownie with ice-cream. In the same way we plan to add many exciting new tastes and flavors to the Indian palate.
Tell us more about your LA Americana range of products. How is it different from existing lines?
Bonn’s La Americana Burger outlets complement India’s fast-food ambiences with their characteristically rich premium gastronomic offerings in terms of its variety of American style burgers, fries and wraps along with a range of shakes, coolers and green apple mojito to sip after your meal. La Americana brings in the pure taste of freshly baked buns for original American burgers that use grilled meat that is not fried, to an Indian audience with large helpings, economical prices and generous use of premium quality meats, vegetables and creams. The idea was to offer customers a finished product from freshly baked buns that are delivered to stores every day, the way it was meant to taste as a fully finished recipe.
You have also entered into premium range of bread. What was the inspiration?
The La Americana Gourmet range of products caters to the need for breads that are fresh and extravagant in appearance, taste, feel and experience. The bakery line consists of whole-wheat bran bread, multigrain bread, milk bread, garlic oregano bread, honey oat bread, whole wheat bran burger bread, whole-wheat bran pav and pizza breads, whole-wheat multigrain footlongs, garlic footlongs, lemon eggless cakes and choco vanilla and butterscotch eggless cakes. These breads contain no added preservatives and are delivered on the same day to retailers by our integrated logistics fleet of over 400 trucks catering to various markets across India.
Increasing disposable incomes, globalized influences inclination to lifestyle products, health consciousness and the passion to deliver freshly baked healthy and premium breads to delight discerning food lovers was the inspiration for this range of breads.
Who do you target as your customer?
We have tried to capture wider audience as possible with our extensive range of products. From young to the old and from varying background of demography, communities and taste preferences. The only criterion is that the customer be a lover of good and hygienic food. Today’s consumers is getting inclined more towards healthy, premium varieties of baked food that is fresh, healthy and tasty and can be picked up on the go.
Going forward, what new can we see happening at Bonn Group, expanding both Restaurants and FMCG division?
Bonn has many exciting new plans for the future. These include the strategic push towards the South for our extensive variety of biscuits. For this, a new plant has been acquired in Mysore. We recently introduced exciting Piri Piri, Chipotle and Bombay Twist burgers to our menu of La Americana burger menu. We plan to open a new outlet in Dwarka to cater to demand from West Delhi and within two years; we hope to have 10 such QSR outlets across the city. We plan to develop LA Americana Gourmet portfolio further by adding more lifestyle and healthy products and by 2020; we hope to have a complete pan-India presence for food lovers throughout the country.