With an aim of opening 100 outlets in 12 months, Kamats is on a growth trajectory since the opening of the first outlet in 2010. FoodService speaks with Vikram Kamat, Managing Director, Kamats Restaurants & VITS Hotels, about the brand‘s future plans and what makes them stand out from the competition.
Give us a brief description of the evolution and growth of your company and its F&B brands over the years?
Kamats has been in the business of healthy hygienic and pure vegetarian Indian food for over 80 years. While the company was originally a family firm, it has now become more corporatized and professional and expanded into franchising. Today, it has over 51 franchised outlets across six states in India and is looking to go pan-India and international.
What is the culinary portfolio that is offered at your restaurants and what is the price range? Which are your best-selling products?
We offer an array of culinary delights at our restaurants. Our best selling products are Idli and Dosa and Kamats (Aloo chaat) Vada.
What is the market positioning that your brands are looking to create?
Our brands mantra is ‘Hot healthy and hygienic pure vegetarian food’.
What is your customer catchment and how is your location strategy aligned to it?
South Indian and items like Idli Dosa are loved by all but not always available. Hence, Kamats aims to make Idli, Dosa, Kamat Vada and Filter Coffee and great Indian kadak chai available to all.
How are you bringing technology to bear on your logistics, supply chain and innovation?
This has been an innovation factor for us. We have developed our logistics and specialized equipment, which enable us to operate within malls and societies without using any gas fuel. We have various electrical equipment and other standardized dispensing equipment like idli shooter, dosa maker, etc., that enable us to make our products in a clean, hygienic and efficient manner.
Have you introduced any specific innovations to make your back-end operations foolproof?
This is an ongoing process and while I wish it was foolproof, we have not reached the foolproof stage as yet. But I’m confident that with more experience, we will reach there shortly.
What are the new trends that will gain currency for your restaurant formats going ahead?
We are trying to innovate in vegetarian so that we can add variety to what we are serving and can bring more variations to our menu.
What has prompted you to launch Vidli Vada by Kamats?
Vidli Vada is able to penetrate in those spaces and locations where south Indian food can be served in a 100 sq.ft. space. This in itself is an innovative breakthrough.
What are your plans and targets for the future?
We would like to first reach our milestone of crossing 100 outlets in the next 12 months.
Tell us something more about your expansion plans.
The company has mapped out the areas of expansion, which will be a mix of company owned and franchised restaurants. In the first half of 2018, Kamats will open outlets in Ahmednagar, Khopoli, Satara, Padga, Khandala, Dindoli, Surat, Waghunde, Nipani, Kolhapur, Nanded, Indapur, Vani-Nashik and Nashik-Sinner. The flagship restaurant will also roll out its second outlet in Mumbai at Chakala, Andheri next month. By 2019, Kamats Restaurants is expected to have total of 150 outlets with key expansions planned in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. Apart from the planned expansion, the company is also working on new trends and concepts in the market. Vidli Vada by Kamats Kiosk is the latest format launched by the company specifically designed for space constraints to serve variety of piping hot Idli’s and Vada’s. Vidli Vada by Kamats will penetrate its reach across leading metros,Tier I and II cities offering super hygienic kiosks at a very affordable price, thereby presenting huge opportunities in the near future.