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Harpreet Singh Tibb of Tibb’s Frankie—A Retail ‘Roll’ Model

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R S Roy
R S Roy
R S Roy is the editorial advisor at IMAGES Group

Promoter of Tibb’s Frankie Harpreet Singh Tibb knows how to build, reposition and accelerate businesses through disruptive ideas. He has done it for HUL, Kellogg’s and he’s doing it again at his business…

Harpreet Singh Tibb is a man who embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. An engineer from BITS Pilani and MBA from IIM Kolkata, he spent close to two decades in the FMCG industry playing a key role in building great brands for multinationals like Unilever and Kellogg’s India. Eight years ago, he left the corporate world to take the reins of his family business—Tibb’s Frankie—and help draft the next chapter of growth for the Tibb’s Frankie chain that has close to 200 stores across the country in leading malls, high streets, airports, corporates and dark kitchens.

Tibb’s Frankie so far has served 120 million plus rolls and boasts a GMV of close to Rs 1 billion. The brand, which is part of marquee events like cricket World Cup, IPL and celebrity weddings, has been adding 20 stores each year post-COVID.

The credit largely goes to Harpreet Singh Tibb (also known as HST) and his brother Jasmit Singh Tibb along with Vikas Khemani, their strategic business partner.

HST has an impressive track record of innovation, execution, operational excellence and developing teams that drive results. He believes in “doing well by doing good to society” and has crafted many programs that give back to society.

On a roll in FMCG

Tibb’s was a pivotal part of the Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetana program in 2002 targeted at rural markets where a child was lost to diarrhoea every 30 seconds. This was a behaviour change program consisting of multiple contacts/interventions to drive the adoption of hand washing and growing the category. Lifebuoy developed a glow germ demo kit that made the invisible germs visible, which led to its rapid adoption. The program, which was supported by HUL for 10 long years, was covered in the management book “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” by Prof CK Prahlad, owing to its success.

In 2011, as the head of the packaged foods business in HUL, Tibb was posed with the challenge of reviving Kissan, which was losing market share to Nestle. The team decided to play up the use of 100% real fruits and vegetables in its products, changed its packaging and launched a campaign called Kissanpur. It was about sustainable living and asking consumers to grow real tomatoes in their houses to understand the brand promise. Every ketchup bottle came with a pack of tomato seeds and seed paper that consumers could dissolve in their flowerpots to grow tomatoes. The Kissanpur campaign won many industry accolades and the brand regained market leadership within two years.

In 2013-2014 breakfast cereals still had low adoption even after two decades of existence in the country. Insights revealed that the overlapping ingredient in Indian breakfast and Kellogg cereals was Anaaj or grains. So Tibb and team developed a campaign called Anaaj Ka Nashta and brought this to life through a packaging innovation called the 5th panel in packaging to showcase the story of the grain. Real grain pouches were distributed with every pack to tell consumers about Kellogg’s grain story. This helped accelerate business growth and improve profitability.

Leading Tibb’s to success

Like many other brands, pre-pandemic, Tibb’s too was primarily an offline brand with the bulk of its sales coming through its stores. Its presence on online platforms like Zomato and Swiggy was negligible. Sales were at an all-time low after resuming operations post-pandemic. On the first day, Tibb’s just sold 7 rolls. Things did not improve over the month. And the brand was compelled to go online first. Today, with funnel analysis with its partners, Tibb’s Frankie achieves a large chunk of business online. It is now at a leading position on food aggregator platforms.

It required a complete metamorphosis of the brand and its business model. Today, using data analytics Tibb’s Frankie can drive localised marketing plans at microzones, and clusters of outlets, drive higher average order value, portfolio premiumisation and menu expansion. A promotion that worked well is the Budhwar ka Chaska or Frankie Wednesday when everything in the store is sold at Rs99.

Today, under the able leadership of HST, Tibb’s Frankie is striving hard to change its perception of being a brand that plays safe to one that innovates. The legacy brand that has been serving rolls for the last 55 years has over the last six to nine months used data analytics to identify consumer preferences among its online consumers, Gen Z consumers. Based on the insights it has launched a slew of offerings which are seen as on-trend, addressing untapped consumer needs.

Its latest launch ProtiRoti, a range of 100% plant-based protein rolls in collaboration with GoodDot is tapping into the consumer need for plant protein-based food options and vegan options. Consumers now have a choice of veg, non-veg and ProtiRoti—a new category of food has been created for the consumers. Tibb’s Frankie is the first QSR chain to have taken a bold bet and launched an entire range of 100% plant-based protein food.

The launch has seen many old consumers return to the brand, current consumers loving the new menu options and industry players sitting up and taking notice.

Harpreet Singh Tibb is steering the brand through its next phase of growth to reclaim its position as the disruptor in the industry.

The trailblazer will share invaluable insights from his vast FMCG experience about building, reviving and repositioning brands to make them market leaders at the Phygital Retail Convention (PRC) 2024.

Stay tuned for more updates and witness the transformative impact of his expertise on the future of retail!

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