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Pure South Plans Clusters

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The one-year old Kerala-based chain Pure South plans to expand its presence in Cochin and Trivandrum this fiscal, and is also mulling outlets outside Kerala by 2015

Pure South’s first outlet opened in May 2013 in Calicut, followed by three more in the same city. The restaurants have a seating capacity of 30 to 40 customers, with an average bill size ranging from Rs 120 and Rs 150. The restaurants cover 800 to 1,500 sqft area and are centrally located. Food for all the outlets is prepared by around 5 chefs at the company’s 2,000 sqft centralised kitchen, which has the capacity to cater to a cluster of 8 -10 Pure South outlets, each of which is equipped with a 250 sqft open kitchen, and has a chef at the helm.

Says , Co-founder and CEO, , “Our brand name instantly conveys our core offering, that is authentic South Indian vegetarian food. We believe in a flexible format – one that can be modified to suit the catchment, and/or local preferences. We are a new brand and are still observing the market, the different restaurant formats and models, and we will continue to evolve.”

Pure South does not have a large menu. “Ours is a process (recipe) driven cooking with less dependency on chefs. We do not have many dishes on the menu as we want to focus on the ones we have and ensure optimum quality in our offerings, quick service, and affordable pricing, all of which are very necessary in a QSR if you do not want to turn away customers,” says Unnikrishnan.

Dosa is the most popular item currently, and contributes 40 percent of the total sales. The brand believes in mouth of word of mouth publicity and distributes pamphlets within the catchment areas to create awareness of the brand.

Like all newcomers in the food service space, Unnikrishnan too has to deal with challenges of operating a central kitchen model, production planning, timely distribution, and minimising wastage. But undeterred, he is already planning ahead. “In Calicut, we are currently operating 4 outlets and plan to open 3 more within this year. We follow a cluster approach with 8-10 outlets in every cluster. Our next cluster will come up in Cochin, then Trivandrum, and next year, we will look at locations outside Kerala. Our ambition is to open 100 outlets in the next 3 to 4 years.”

While in the first phase of expansion Pure South will open only company-owned outlets, it might consider taking the franchise route for a more wider reach outside the home state in the coming years. Says Unnikrishnan, “We will consider franchising only once we have arrived at the perfect business model for our brand. We have seen many ventures failing due to untimely expansion through franchising. We prefer to wait and first stabilise our business.”