Westlife Development Ltd
Amit Jatia is the Vice Chairman of Westlife Development (WDL). He also serves as a Board Member on Hardcastle Petrofer Pvt. Ltd., and the Vice Chairman and CEO of Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. Westlife Development is the promoter holding company of Hardcastle Restaurants (HRPL).
Westlife Development Limited focuses on putting up and operating Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) in India through its subsidiary Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (HRPL). The company operates a chain of McDonald’s restaurants in west and south India, having a master franchisee relationship with McDonald’s Corporation USA, through the latter’s Indian subsidiary.
HRPL serves approximately 180 million customers, annually, at its 202 (as of December 31, 2014) McDonald’s restaurants across 24 cities in the states of Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of Madhya Pradesh, and provides direct employment to over 7,500 employees. McDonald’s operates through various formats and brand extensions including standalone restaurants, drive-thru’s, 24/7, McDelivery, dessert Kiosks. The menu features Burgers, Finger Foods, Wraps, Hot and Cold Beverages besides a wide range of desserts. Several of the McDonald’s Restaurant feature in-house McCafé.
“Westlife Development has continued to build on accessibility for its customers through expansion of its restaurant base with gross additions of 25 new restaurants, taking the total count to 202 in west and south India. We added 11 new restaurants in the last quarter with a continued focus on drive-thru formats which help build on the competitive brand differentiation,” Jatia says.
“We entered four new cities of Aurangabad, Belagavi, Mangaluru and Nadiad and expanded with three restaurants in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat and one each in Telangana and Kerala,” he adds, elaborating on the company’s recent expansion schedule.
Jatia promises that Westlife Development will continue to expand its restaurant footprint and tap into the opportunity in the underpenetrated markets of west and south India. “Going forward, we plan to invest Rs 800-850 Cr and add 250 McDonald’s restaurants within 3-5 years across Western & Southern India. In the coming quarters, we will continue to drive consistent performance by a relentless focus on brand building, bigger and better innovations and disciplined execution in the restaurants. We will continue to manage our business dynamically to deliver competitive, profitable and sustainable growth for the long term,” he informs.
Prior to launching McDonald’s in India, Jatia was spearheading Houghton Hardcastle (India) Ltd., one of the family group companies.
Jatia has over 25 years of experience in the QSR industry; he was responsible for various aspects of the establishment and operation of McDonald’s Restaurants in western and southern India. He has been instrumental in creating the essential organizational infrastructure to develop and run the chain of McDonald’s restaurants in west and south India. Amit has steered Hardcastle Restaurants to the next level to become a Master Franchisee for McDonald’s in the region. He has been instrumental in putting in place the building blocks of McDonald’s in India. His efforts have yielded visible results for McDonald’s brand in India, over the last 18 years.
He has been recognised for his achievements with several awards – “Young Achievers Award” by the Indo-American Society, Business World’s “Most Respected Company” award for the Food Sector, for three consecutive years, as well as Images “Retailer of the Year” award.
“I enjoy being in Retail because the retail space is a competitive environment and offers scope for constant innovation and growth,” he says, adding that his key professional accomplishments have been setting up HRPL, which brought McDonald’s to India (West & South) in 1996 against a complex backdrop biased against multinational brands. In addition, “establishing a world-class supply chain about two decades ago in India, which has built a phenomenal foundation” is also one his primary accomplishments, he says.
“Today, we are proud to serve over 320 million customers annually across India.”
Referring to his biggest professional challenges, he lists “cost structure” and “low consumption per capita for our category”.
“To achieve full potential, Indian retailers must re-invent themselves to keep in par with the fast-paced environment and changing consumer trends and scenarios,” he advises.
Jatia has a degree in Business Administration from the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He has attended several sessions of the YPO / Harvard President’s Program at HBS.