Some of the world's most upmarket restaurant brands have taken a bite out of the India story. Unlike the multinational fast-food brands like McDonald's and KFC, which have expanded in the country over a decade with hundreds of outlets, these high-end chains want to remain exclusive.
Franchising, which is an American invention from the 1800s, is a unique business model that allows two separate owners to share in the operations and profits of a business, each providing support and resources. While franchises can serve as an entry point into business ownership for many, included in the deal is a complex set of operational protocols and assorted challenges.
For example, the nature of the operation often prevents franchise employees from unionizing, and recent lawsuits against larger chains have resulted in questions about work rights and how a franchise is defined.
Holding the Master Franchisee of SBARRO, Western India, an American brand that has over 600 stores across the world, Rashmi Balwani, Managing Director, Upper Crust Foods Pvt Ltd shares her experience in the Franchise Business. “With my learnings in the franchising world, I voyaged in the Master franchise route of bringing a brand to India, dwelling it up as our own brand with systems in place.”
Maintaining relation with franchisor & franchisee
The franchisor dares to open franchising opportunities for franchisees, only when the brand has been established. It takes a huge amount of time, patience and energy from the franchisor’s part in making a brand. Thus it is a difficult part on the franchisor’s side to trust on a stranger to let him carry his brand in some other place, where he personally would not be able to take care directly.
The partnership is important because the franchisor wants to let franchisees carry his brand on their shoulders but the franchisees should also be responsible enough to maintain the name, fame, and quality of the brand. One has to be 100% sure, both financially and mentally, for being able to take care of a brand before getting into the partnership.
“When I was on the other side of being a franchisee to Subway”, Balwani says,” I understood what were the needs of a franchisee and expectations of a franchisor. As a franchisor now, it became easy for me to understand what I have to deliver to my franchisees to make this a successful brand for themselves.”
A Flavorsome New
With the thought of bringing Indian food for Indians from outside, Mahesh Raikar, Founder, Wrapchic said,” India is a terrific market and the love for Indian food is still the same. The depth from a fast food to casual dining with similar belief will continue to follow the franchise phase.”
We need to have a very strong formula that works for the business. A clear communication with the franchisee will help the joint venture work. Keeping that in mind, giving the franchisees a strong product, for their employees, gives them a strong marketing platform.
Pawanjit Singh, who is behind bringing Le Pain Quotidien to the country, said the Indian market was ready for a lot of niche international concepts in the F&B space. "We have seen a lot of international chains with mass appeal come to India in the past decade. As the Indian consumers become aware through their international travels about more exclusive concepts, it is the right time for such outfits to enter the country."