Swensen’s, originally from San Francisco, US, entered India through a franchise agreement between Devyani International Ltd (DIL), the master franchisee for Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and KFC in India, and Thailand-based Minor Food Group (MFG). DIL has bought the rights to market Swensen’s in South India.
MFG is the largest owner and operator of Swensen’s ice cream parlours worldwide with over 200 outlets in Thailand alone. In 2003, Minor Food Group was granted a 40-year license to develop and franchise Swensen’s in 34 countries across Middle East, Asia and India.
Elaborating on the expansion plans in India, Virag Joshi, president and CEO, DIL, said, “With the flagship Swensen’s outlet in place at Bangalore, we will look to open additional five stores by the end of the current fiscal. The first few cities to have Swensen’s outlets, besides Bangalore, will be Hyderabad and Chennai and select cities in Kerala.”
“Our long-term plan is to have over 50 Swensen’s outlets in South India over the next 4-5 years. Our investment per store will be close to Rs 80 lakh,” he added.
While most ice cream brands in India are primarily focused on serving scoops in a take away format, Swensen’s outlets will provide a unique, fun, dine-in experience to sample luxury ice cream sundaes.
“We are using our state-of-the-art production facility in Goa for making ice creams based on Swensen’s recipes and high-quality ingredients,” Joshi said, referring to the production and supply chain dynamics for the chain in India. “Our R&D team is currently developing 24 new flavours for the Indian market, which will be introduced shortly. These flavours –combined with 24 existing international flavours – will go into 40 varieties of Sundaes plus shakes and beverages currently on offer in our store,” he added.
The overseas expansion is in line with the strategy set by the parent company, Minor Food Group, to be a global food company. With an annual sales turnover of $75 million, Swensen’s currently has over 300 outlets across the US, South America, Middle East and parts of Asia with aggressive expansion plans on the anvil.
– IndiaRetailing Bureau