Deepak Agarwal, Director, Clay Craft India, discusses the company‘s growing clientele in the HoReCa and Retail sectors, with Seema Gupta
What does a HoReCa client look for when selecting crockery?
Generally, crockery is selected according to the theme, ambience, and the kind of food served at the restaurant. A client looks for crockery with a unique design, quality, variety, customisation option, quick service, and the supplier’s ability to provide repeat orders. However, since crockery is an investment just like any machinery used in a restaurant – it is not replaced or changed easily.
We have also realized that keeping our designs simple yet elegant, with a unique range of shapes, has proven to be a big advantage. White is the most sought after color in the HoReCa range of products as it is easier for the client to present his products to a customer in a vibrant manner. Bone China by itself defines class and luxury.
As a supplier, we also offer customisation by way of printing the client’s artwork as per their requirement. Artwork can be in the form of their company logo, floral design, design based on their restaurant theme, premium gold designs, and any other kind of branding. We offer customisation for orders as low as Rs 25,000.
How do you market your products to the HoReCa industry?
We market our products through international and national exhibitions like: Ambiente, Germany, Aahaar, Delhi, FHW, Bangalore, besides which, our sales team is on ground visiting the hospitality institutions with samples and presentations. The buying team of the hospitality institution does its market research and sampling. Following feedback from the F&B and top management, the order is finalized. A purchase order via email/post is sent to the supplier with mutual terms and conditions.
We cater to all QSRs, fine dine restaurants, cafes, casual dine restaurants, pubs, lounges, caterers, etc. Our clients include Hard Rock Café, Radisson, ITC, Taj, Royal Orchid, Sarovar Hotels, Tapri Tea House, Indian School Of Business, IIM, Foodlink Hospitality, Golden Tulip and many more. Our sales in HoReCa comprise 20 percent of our overall business output.
What is the USP and reach of your company?
We believe that to create a niche in the market it does not mean overpricing your products to show quality. We manufacture products that fit everyone’s requirements. Our main competitors amongst domestic industry players include Bharat Potteries, UPC and Feather Touch.
We have 100+ distributors pan India. Our products are available in 10,000+ retail counters. We have also tied up with major retail chains like Walmart, Carrefour, Metro, Future Group and Tesco, and online retailers like Snapdeal, Fabfurnish, Amazon, Flipkart etc. The company has recently begun catering to demand for hotelware from UK, Canada, Middle East and Africa.
What has changed over the years and what trends are coming in?
The industry has been growing at a fast pace. We have read that the Bone China manufacturers in India have been giving the 300 year old European market of Bone China stiff competition. In fact, India is the second largest manufacturer of bone china crockery after China. We have seen major growth in the Hotelware sector for plain white crockery because of the rapidly growing Indian Hospitality sector. The change and upgradation of the lifestyle of the Indian population has enabled demand for better quality products. People now want to move on to Fine Bone China tableware items from plastic and steel products.
What is driving growth of domestic products?
High import duties and increasing transportation costs (because of fuel price rise in recent years) has made import of Chinese ceramic tableware items difficult, thus giving push to domestic products. Organized players in the industry have upgraded their plants with better technology, and increased capacity.
Clay Craft has acquired the prominent brand JCPL, and is targeting 50 percent market share of the Rs 1,000 crore Bone China industry, which we expect will grow at an average of 25 percent for the next 5 years. Anti-dumping laws placed by the European Union on Chinese ceramic products has enabled Indian manufacturers to tap this market, and recently, the industry has experienced increased demand, which is set to grow immensely. Growth of the organized retail/Modern Trade will impact the Bone China industry as well, which will also grow with it.
In FY 2013-14, EU declared anti-dumping duty on Chinese Ceramic Products (which includes bone china tableware) to support European manufacturers, who are currently in a revival phase. Labour costs are very high in EU and the ceramic industry is a labour-intensive industry. India can produce the same products at a very low cost and efficiently too. At the Ambiente exhibition in Frankfurt, we have seen growing demand for ‘Made in India’ bone china products.
What are your plans to grow your HoReca business this fiscal?
Every year we introduce a new range for HoReCa at the Aahaar trade show in Delhi. Our R&D and customer feedback process is a year-round process. We have come from a 10 page catalogue to a 50 page catalogue – providing a wide variety of items to hoteliers and restaurants.