Buoyed by the initial response of its new millennial-focused chain – Punjab Grill Tappa – Lite Bite Foods Pvt. Ltd. is planning to open five more outlets by mid-2017.
The company, recently struck the right chord with youngsters with the launch of Tappa. Tappa gives a new look to North Indian cuisine – in a trendy Indian going-out experience – and also has some offerings catering to the health conscious youth.
Lite Bite Foods owns many restaurant chains including Punjab Grill, Zambar and Asia Seven, which in the recent past have become the center of focus for many marketers.
The company, which launched the first 2,000 sq. ft. Tappa outlet in Gurgaon’s CyberHub on October 25, is planning to come up with a second outlet at Aerocity, followed by another in Connaught Place in central Delhi. After this, they will head towards the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, followed by Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Pune.
“Tappa, targeting youngsters, is created around healthier food offerings and not the typical heavy buttery North India food. While the menu does have Punjab Grill signatures like Dal Makhani, Panner Tikka, Butter Chicken et all, the difference lies in preparation. They are not as creamy and heavy as they are usually. Additionally, there are many healthy sliders as well. And all these have been received well by our target audience,” Chief Executive Officer, Lite Bite Foods, Sharad Sachdeva told Indiaretailing Bureau in an exclusive interview.
Sachdeva said the Cyber Hub outlet is already doing a business of between Rs 50-60 lakh a month and they are aiming at similar numbers from other locations. “We are quite sure of receiving a similar response from the other locations too. I believe in the next three-five months, we will be touching Rs 70-75 lakh a month from these outlets.”
However, for the company, which in the recent years managed to maintain its same-store growth at 8-10 per cent at a time when most players in the sector struggled to increase sales, the decision to come up with Tappa took a long time coming.
“The brand (Tappa) has been conceptualized for the longest time. From the last one year, we have been deciding to come up with a concept like this but we were not sure about the scalability. Then finally, Punjab Grill’s chef said let’s do it and he designed the menu which we liked a lot, after which we took a chance and went ahead with the plan. Now, looking at the response, we are certain that we can multiple.” Sachdeva said.
Meanwhile, the company which currently operates 16 Punjab Grill outlets (both company-owned and franchise) across India has started expanding in international markets through franchise agreements and own stores, including at places like Singapore, Bangkok, Washington, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi.
Sachdeva said the international markets are performing better than the Indian markets and are likely to be the growth driver in future.
“Our Singapore Punjab Grill has been recognized by the prestigious 2016 Michelin Guide Singapore. Both Bangkok and Abu Dhabi outlets are number one on Trip Advisor. Then, we have an outlet in America which does Rs 24 crore topline a year. So international foray has been better than India and the numbers are extremely encouraging,” Sachdeva noted.
“Now, we are planning to do a Punjab Grill in Dubai. Followed by one in Washington DC, next to Trump house, which will be a company- owned outlet,” he added.
Lite Bite Foods also operates restaurants at international airports under a bunch of international brands. Travel retail accounts for about 40-45 per cent of Lite Bite Foods’ annual revenue.
Note ban affect
Just like other customer-centric organizations, Lite Bite Foods too initially saw a decrease in sales by about 15- 20 per cent during November over the previous month, post the Government’s demonetization drive. But Sachdeva said it has now come down to “-5 per cent” and they are expecting it to get stable in the coming few days.
“Surprisingly, Tappa doesn’t see any demand crunch because of demonetization as this set of consumers (millennials) are already using plastic money or mobile wallets. And the lack of liquidity doesn’t affect them,” concluded Sachdeva.
(Interview conducted by Mehak Sharma for Indiaretailing Bureau)