Do you remember eating out, dear reader? Is it the menus you miss, the service you soliloquy about? Perhaps it’s my favourite song. The point is that the experience is always the same.
The thing is that, unlike McDonalds, which is the same grotesquery no matter where one goes in the world, our favourite restaurants are something we carry with us everywhere. If food defines who we are, our favourite restaurants identify the person we choose to portray.
So, what happens when our favourite restaurants get to mushroom elsewhere?
Rahul Khanna, co-founder, Azure Hospitality that owns brands like Dhaba , Mamagoto, and beyond, says, “We got into franchising as a way to leverage our brand equity, expand in cities where we do not have local knowledge or infrastructure, to further sweat our assets at head office level. Our franchises are all company operated so we retain full control of brand standards and functionality. We keep a check through rigorous audits, training, evolution of product and ensuring the brand stays relevant through marketing initiatives and product development. Investing constantly in human capital and importing intellectual competencies is also key to our brand.”
Coming from the other side, Anup Agarwal, franchise owner of Mamagoto says, “We have taken over the franchise of Mamagoto for Pacific mall. It’s surely a tough call to take on which brand to take the ownership of, as for us, it’s like venturing into someone’s business and making money from it.” He adds that the decision is based on multiple factors. “Like which brand is widely acceptable by the audience (the idea is to own a successful brand so as to understand the nuances of industry also), the location you have etc. Also, if you don’t have much knowledge of the functionality of the industry and your foray is passion driven, it’s best to trust a company that is a successful player for a long time. I ventured into Mamagato because of the extremely comfortable and transparent equation with Azure Hospitality and because of the love that Mamagoto receives from the public. I think it is a fair business deal.”
And the deal for most is “Franchisee Owned, Company Operated”, echoed by two prominent restaurateurs in the city. “FOCO,” says Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing Director of Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, emphatically. “We own most of the restaurants we have operated so far, be it Mumbai or London. It took us a long time to even become comfortable with the idea. Our food apart, we need to ensure that our guests in any of our outlets around the world experience the same level of hospitality, ethos of our brand, and just who we are. Covid may have galvanised the process, but we were also looking at expanding our footprint with committed partners who saw who we are, and wanted to expand that story. We are very clear with our franchising system — we make money when YOU make money.”
Franchising is a process, says Vikrant Batra, Founder, Cafe Delhi Heights. “We need to find partners who are both committed and competent enough to deliver the idea and food of Delhi that we are putting out. Sure, it makes financial sense to share our name with a partner, as they also help us expand into markets we would not have been able to otherwise, given the current economic environment.”
Divya Kapoor, Co-Founder of franchise outlet of Dhaba at DLF avenue Saket, concludes “The idea of taking Dhaba with Azure Hospitality makes so much sense; who better than the stalwarts Rahul Khanna and Kabir, and what better than Dhaba which is one of the oldest and one of the most successful brands out there. Also given the premium location at DLF Commons, it was a blessing in disguise. Dhaba is the perfect choice for family diners as it offers authentic rich Punjabi flavours and an experience of dining.”
In a Nutshell
Our favourite restaurants are something we carry with us everywhere. If food defines who we are, our favourite restaurants identify the person we choose to portray. So, what happens when our favourite restaurants get to mushroom elsewhere? As a franchise?