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Yellow Tie Hospitality is the fastest growing international brand in Indian foodservice: Karan Tanna

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Restaurant franchise company Yellow Tie Hospitality, which owns the India license rights for America‘s , is on track to take its store count from the current 22 to 50 outlets by end of the year, apart from expanding its other F&B brands and augmenting its existing portfolio.

Yellow Tie Hospitality is the fastest growing international brand in Indian foodservice: Karan Tanna
Yellow Tie offers a sense of partnership to franchise owners and helps them to drive brand’s growth

FoodService India spoke to Founder and CEO, , to learn about the company‘s aggressive franchise growth plans and its journey ahead.

Tell us about your company.

Yellow Tie Hospitality is a progressive food and beverages (F&B) franchise management company. Our expertise is to design and manage scalable restaurant concepts by optimized outlet level economics, smart menu engineering, vendor sourcing, supply chain/logistics, increasing efficiencies at outlets and focus on marketing and brand building. Yellow Tie offers a sense of partnership to franchise owners and helps them to drive brand’s growth.

Which are the foodservice brands run by Yellow Tie Hospitality?

There are three inhouse brands under Yellow Tie Hospitality. is a young and fun brand focusing on the youth with Poutine – French fries with a lot of toppings – as the main cuisine. is a high-end, progressive, only-veg food restobar. is chef Harpal’s specialty restaurant serving authentic Hyderabadi cuisine of the nizams.

Apart from our in-house brands, Yellow Tie Hospitality has India exclusive license for international brands such as Genuine Broaster Chicken of USA, of Dubai and of UK.

Which formats do your brands belong to and what is the concept behind them?

Dhadoom, Just Falafel and Wrapchic are QSRs or fast casual brands. Dhadoom is a kiosk, small store concept serving a very popular Canadian street food called Poutine. Just Falafel serves healthy Lebanese salads and world flavour falafel. Wrapchic is a very unique and quirky brand serving Indian burritos. Twist of Tadka is a casual dine-in brand with a bar and serving progressive Indian only-veg food. Genuine Broaster Chicken is an American diner, which is customised to the Indian palate. Its flagship product is pressure-fried chicken, which utilises 50 per cent lesser oil.

How many outlets are currently under these brands and what is their average sales per sq. ft.?

GBC has 22 outlets; BB Jaan has one; Twist of Tadka runs two outlets.Usually, stores do a sale of Rs 50 to Rs 80 per sq. ft. per day (GBC, TOT, BB Jaan). Genuine Broaster Chicken has outlets in Mumbai, Surat, Kolkata, Raipur, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Guwahati, Gangtok and Patna.

Which markets do these brands cater to?

GBC caters to Tier 1 and Tier 2 high-street clientele comprising majorly urban youth between ages 15 and 30. TOT is in high-end malls in Tier 1 cities and caters to upper crust working professionals and families. Just Falafel caters to healthy eaters and is located on high street as well as malls. It also has a very good potential to cater to corporate customers. Dhadoom has a very high potential in areas around colleges and in the food courts inside malls. It caters to school and college students. Wrapchic is targeted at people with disposable income and nuclear families. Wrapchic has the potential to do very good in corporate complexes and food courts of malls.

Which are your best-selling products and what’s their key innovation in food and beverage?

Our best selling brand is GBC and its pressure fried chicken and chicken wings tossed in various sauces are top sellers. GBC has many innovations to its credit and has introduced unique products like lamb rogan josh burger, palak paneer burger, ghotala khichdi, gulkand muffin, Jain burger, chocolate samosa with mango ice cream. GBC has also a few innovations in beverage – chulbul and bulbul soda and palang tod, to name a few.

With the trend in healthy eating picking up, how are you bringing these in your offerings?

The chicken at GBC uses patented GBC technology, which makes the product 50 per cent less oily. For vegetarians, we have many options and offer palak paneer burger, ghotala khichdi, gulkand muffin and Jain burger. The word chicken is part of the GBC brand name, yet the focus is as much on veg as on non-veg. We are also going to introduce salads in our menu soon.

How are you deploying technology to make your business more efficient and customer friendly?

We have an in-house mobile application that helps us to manage our entire business. Our franchises can order raw material on app, control their shifts, manage profit statements and can also file a complaint using the app, which we can then solve for them with a ticket number tracking. They can also see SOPs and recipe cards in regional languages. For customers, we have an online feedback mechanism, which helps us on a corporate level to capture real time feedback and take immediate action in order to retain disappointed guests.

What has been the same store sales growth?

On average, it is 4 per cent y-o-y.

What is your marketing and sales strategy and which are the tools you are using to promote the brands?

In today’s market it is very important to have an integrated marketing strategy. More the viability more your sales. We have a dedicated digital media and a social media plan focusing on highlighting our products and guest engagement. We are also involved in various below-the-line activities like pamphlets, door hanging, legal pole signages and much more. As per the requirements, we do hoardings, radio and also lots of celebrity associations. Our biggest focus is to invite more and more guests to experience our stores and spread the word.

What are your brands’ key achievements so far?

Our flagship brand broaster chicken has become the fastest growing international brand in Indian foodservice history. We have grown uniformly in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities across north and south and east and west of India. We already have a lot of loyal guests and they come back for the neighbourhood experience and good chicken. We attribute the success only to our efficient franchise owners who are very enthusiastic and hard working. They respect the brand standards and have been hands-on in following them.

What are your short and long-term goals? Which are the markets you are looking to expand?

By the end of 2017, we plan to grow GBC to 50 outlets, 20 stores of Dhadoom and three stores of Twist of Tadka. We also plan to launch five stores of the UAE-based brand Just Falafel and five stores of the UK-based Burrito brand Wrapchic in India. We also plan to invest US $3 million to expand Dhadoom, Twist of Tadka, Wrapchic and Just Falafel. Yellow Tie Hospitality will be spending US $2 million to expand Genuine Broaster Chicken this fiscal to more cities like New Delhi, Gangtok, Imphal, Bangalore, Pune, Bhubneshwar and Varanasi. By end of this year, Yellow Tie aims to have 10 leading F&B brands in its portfolio.

Which are the factors that home-grown Indian QSRs should keep in mind for driving growth?

Home-grown QSRs should serve products with differentiation. Aspirational product packaging oriented towards a young audience will have a better chance of scaling and sustaining. QSRs will have to be aspirational and their products very youth oriented to cater to those who have grown eating western and new-age food. Along with product offerings, QSRs also need to keep an eye on unit level economics.

Which are the areas where home-grown QSRs can score over their foreign competitors?

The two biggest advantages that foreign brands have over local brands are: (a) Evolved and efficient systems and processes, which enable them to maintain consistent food quality and experience. (b) Heritage brand name, which drives initial footfall traction to stores. Then, of course, foreign brands have the added advantage of better capitalisation as well.

Local brands in India understand the complex mirco economics of various regions in the country. They understand the food and customer behaviour in their regions much better than anyone else. Due to lean structures, they also have better efficiencies at the store level. Personal involvement in all stores from the owner acts like the icing on cake for regional brands. If these advantages are backed by good processes and systems and efficient franchising, then regional brands can give foreign brands a run for their money.