Despite having many bakeries in India, the confectionery market is different from what one would expect in, say a country like France. The concept of bread, for example, is very different. However, a spike in interest for French breads in the past years as well as new types of pastries has been observed among well-traveled Indian customers, as the market is diversifying, and palates are becoming more discerning.
Keeping this evolving customer palate in mind, Delhi-based bakery chain, L’Opéra – all of whose stores have reached break-even point (with the exception of one) – has taken the level of breads and desserts a notch higher in India by introducing a range of innovative products.
To make sure they stay on top of this trend, the brand is all set to open its biggest outlet at PVR Director’s Cut in July 2017. Talking about the same, Chairperson at L’Opéra, Kazem Samandari spills the beans on the brand’s future plans in this exclusive interview.
Give us details about the new outlet that is opening at PVR Director’s Cut.
In 2016, PVR decided it was time for a fresh makeover for their Director’s Cut complex, India’s most prestigious and lavish cinema chain. As they were looking for partners to bring this idea to fruition, they contacted L’Opéra, arguably among the most prestigious high-end brands in the city, to open a 20-seater Salon de Thé within the complex. It will be L’Opéra’s most prominent outlet with fittings and an ambience just as refined as the most exclusive cafés in Paris.
What is the size of the outlet?
The outlet is around 800 sq.ft. approximately.
What will be the specialty of this outlet?
In addition to L’Opéra’s standard array of products, there will be a number of exclusive pastries, specially crafted for the Director’s Cut complex. The ambience will also be unique, as well as the fittings; the furniture and the equipment are being shipped from France, Hong Kong and Thailand, adding an international, classy feel that few places in Delhi can equal.
How many outlets are you operating currently?
We currently operate 13 points of sale throughout Delhi NCR and Dehradun.
Any plans to open any new outlets in the near future? If yes, then how many can we expect by this fiscal end?
Yes, we are planning to open in Defence Colony Market as well as DLF Mall of India in Noida. Moreover, apart from our outlet in Dehradun, we don’t have any pan-India presence yet, but we are expecting to start opening several outlets in Mumbai by early 2018, and three more cities there on, namely Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai. So by fiscal end, we plan to have some 20 points of sale in Delhi NCR.
How much are you planning to spend to open these outlets?
We have an investment plan of over Rs 40 crore for the next 5 years.
Any plans to explore new markets?
Although, we are currently focusing on consolidating our presence in Delhi NCR and expanding nationally, we will ultimately expand into international markets in due course.
Furthermore, we will consider developing additional associated verticals and possibly merchandising, i.e. non-food products with L’Opéra branding. This will allow us to venture into new horizons and further establish our brand image in people’s minds and solidify our identity as an important player in the bustling high-end Indian market.
Any plans to venture into international market?
Yes, once we have consolidated our national presence. We have been keenly solicited to expand our activities in half a dozen overseas countries and have received several business proposals in that sense. It is heartwarming to witness how L’Opéra’s reputation for excellence and the quality of its products has travelled beyond our borders in such a short period of time.
Any plans to go franchisee route in the future?
We have no specific plans and in general are cautious when it comes to the franchisee route, but are open to this avenue if certain conditions related to quality and brand identity are met.
In a previous interview, you had said, “We are in the advanced stages of our current round of fund-raising. We are planning to raise between Rs 45 -50 crore.” How far have you reached as per this goal?
We are in the phase of due-diligence.
L’Opéra was also looking for potential investors, to whom the brand will be offering minority equity participation. What is the progress on the same?
As mentioned earlier, we have made excellent progress and expect to conclude this round within the next few months.
What are your future plans?
By 2020, we plan to have around 60 outlets pan-India, and 3 production centers plus two satellite kitchens.