Keventers: The Yummy Comeback of an Iconic Brand

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Keventers, an iconic dairy brand of yesteryears, was best known for its yummy milkshakes. Sipping on its past glory, it made a comeback in early 2015 as a ‘dairy-based beverage’ brand with an outlet at Select Citywalk, New Delhi. Besides recreating its classic flavours, the brand has also introduced a whole new range of milkshakes, thick shakes, coffees and smoothies to tempt today’s beverage lover. FoodService India‘s Namita Bhagat brings you this flavourful story…
Keventers was once an immensely famous dairy brand in India, which had a successful run for many decades before it got lost in the mists of time! Its foundations were laid in 1925 when Edward Keventer, a Swedish dairy technologist set up his eponymous dairy factory in India. Eventually, he went on to establish several units in different parts of the country, including Calcutta, Darjeeling, Delhi, et al.
As the years passed by, Keventers gradually began emerging as a prominent dairy brand. It was in the 1940s when the business changed hands. Ram Krishna Dalmia acquired the dairy project and formed a company called ‘Edward Keventers Successors’. And with this, began the next phase of the brand’s journey.
By the 1960s, Keventers had become synonymous with dairy products in Delhi. However, it was their milkshakes sold as fl avoured milk that tickled everyone’s taste buds. Delivered fresh and cool every morning, they were available in a variety of flavours like strawberry, butterscotch and chocolate.
As fate would have it, the area of Chanakyapuri in Delhi where Keventers’ factory was located became a prime diplomatic area, and therefore the company had to wind-up. That was in the 1970s. However, some of its distributors continued to serve milk in an unregulated, unrefi ned and illegal way.
A brand new beginning
Many years later, Agastya Mihir R. Dalmia, third generation scion of the Dalmia family, decided to revive this iconic brand. He partnered with Sohrab Sitaram and Aman Arora to re-launch ‘Keventers – the Orginal Milkshake’.
The roles of the three partners are clearly delineated. Whilst Agastya is the brand promoter and has a majority stake, he is not very involved in the everyday affaiRs Sohrab is in charge of overall operations and Aman takes care of the marketing end of the business.
The opening of its first outlet in March 2015 at Select Citywalk, New Delhi, marked Keventers’ new beginning as a ‘dairy-based beverage’ brand. Agastya states, “We have brought alive the signature flavours that made Keventers’ a favourite for its rich milkshakes, among the young and old alike. Apart from vintage shakes, we have also introduced thick shakes, hot and cold coffee, flavoured coffee and fresh fruit smoothies.”
Current spread
The brand has grown to six outlets since inception, and are spread across Delhi-NCR region: Select City Walk, Saket; DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj; Cyber Hub, Gurgaon; Mall of India, Noida; Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden; and Bunglow Road, Kamla Nagar. “Out of these six, four are company-owned and two are franchised outlets”, Agastya informs. Upcoming locations (all franchised) include Epicuria, Nehru Place; Chandni Chowk; V3S Mall, Laxmi Nagar; Logix Mall, Noida, Lajpat Nagar; Satya Niketan; Unity One, Rohini; and Gargi College.  Keventers has also started expanding beyond Delhi-NCR with a rollout slated at World Trade Centre, Jaipur.
Business nitty gritty
The brand brings its classic milkshakes in glass bottles sized 500 ml and 300 ml. The recipes   are based on the original recipes which existed 100 years ago.  However, the use of technology has simplified the entire process both at the back-end as well as front-end. The Keventers syrups are developed in three phases – the first step is to impart flavour, the second step is to develop the concentrate, followed by further development of the syrup. All three processes are handled by different vendors under the supervision of Keventers Quality Control team.
Dairy-based beverage is a niche category in India with well-established players such as national brand Amul and various regional brands. Now even MNCs like Coca-Cola have entered the fray.  Not worried about competing with them, Sohrab points out, “We are focusing on fresh milkshakes in our retail outlets; whereas Amul, Verka, etc. are into the business of preserved flavoured milk.”
Since milkshakes are available in glass bottles, the customer can consume them in the store or can take away these bottles home! Other products like hot beverages are sold in disposable paper cups.
Apropos the pricing strategy, he shares, “At high-street locations, tier -II cites, etc. the pricing is ~ Rs 90 + taxes for Classic milkshakes (300 ml), ~ Rs 120 + taxes for Thick shakes (300 ml) and Rs 150 + taxes (500 ml) for Classic milkshakes and Rs 200 + taxes for Thick shakes (500 ml). At premium malls, our pricing will be Rs 150 + taxes (500 ml) for Classic milkshakes and Rs 200 + taxes for Thick shakes. Fruitty shakes will be priced at Rs 175.”
The brand has chalked out a well-thought out marketing and promotion strategy to ensure high engagement with customers and the general public.
Aman explains, “With our position statement of ‘Best milkshakes in the country at affordable prices’, we plan to organise events and outdoor campaigns (ODC) round the year, pan India. Furthermore, we are active on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We will leverage print media as well advertise in national dailies, local newspapers and magazines. To top it, offers will also be made available on food apps.”
Franchising for expansion
For quick expansion across India, Keventers’ parent company Super Milk Products Pvt. Ltd. has adopted the franchise model. Sanjiv Raj, franchise and business development consultant for Keventers, informs that the brand’s franchise offering is a business format franchising. It will expand via the master franchise (MF) route. Territory rights will be granted to the MF who will have to create multiple units within a specified period of time. It will be the responsibility of the master franchisee to train the people as well as collect the royalty, fix the expense and renew the franchise. Keventers will have both a unit franchise (UF) and multi-unit franchise (MUF) model for tier –I and tier –II cities, as it would help in implementing the rollout plan and ensure similar quality in each outlet.
Importantly, the franchised stores will be in Kiosk format (with or without a warehouse). “The product is affordable and the space required will also not exceed more than 100-120 sq. ft.,” he notes. The brand offers complete support to franchisees – pre-opening as well as post-opening on ongoing basis – that includes assistance for site selection to set up, launch, training, marketing and more. It reckons high streets and premium malls as ideal location for opening outlets. High footfalls are desirable for high conversion. Staff management and vendor management will be handled by the franchisor so that the franchisee can focus on entrepreneurial level rather than on managerial level.
Franchised outlets offer the entire menu range as offered by the company-owned outlets. However, the menu will be different for outlets at high street locations and premium mall locations.
Sohrab adds, “All products except milk have a long shelf life hence we will have our own supply chain for the franchise network. In certain cities where it may not be viable, we will be using third party contract manufacturing.”
As the entire production of milkshakes happens at outlet, no refrigeration is required for logistics and there’s hardly any wastage at the outlet level. He further informs that Keventers is also developing ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk similar to Nestlé A+ or Amul Gold, which will further increase the shelf life of the milk to 60 days.
“This will ensure that we hardly have any perishable product,” says Sohrab.
Looking ahead
The brand plans to have a pan India presence with 50 plus points by end of this year. The category of business Keventers is in, quality, consistency in product, hygiene and connect with the consumer is the key to repeat sales. It is very important to understand the product mix and be able to explain the same to the customer. Therefore, the brand is looking to partner with potential franchisees who are entrepreneurial, creative, credible, committed and financially sound. Prior experience in the food industry, though not necessary, is desirable.

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