Creating ripples in QSR sector

Having commenced its operations in 2005, Mast Kalandar is a popular North Indian, quick service restaurant chain owned by Spring Leaf Retail Pvt Ltd. Promoted by Gaurav Jain and Pallavi Gupta, the brand is among the fastest growing home grown Indian QSR.
Gaurav Jain

Having commenced its operations in 2005, Mast Kalandar is a popular North Indian, quick service restaurant chain owned by Spring Leaf Retail Pvt Ltd. Promoted by Gaurav Jain and Pallavi Gupta, the brand is among the fastest growing home grown Indian QSR. Vrinda Oberai, Franchise India Media in a tete-a-tete with Mr Gaurav Jain, CEO, Mast Kalandar….

 

Vrinda Oberai: What sets Mast Kalandar apart from other QSR chains?

Gaurav Jain (GJ): To provide a wholesome and healthy eating experience to the calorie conscious working professionals, Mast Kalandar serves the old Indian recipes with a new age perspective.


The food is cooked fresh using quality ingredients. The menu at Mast Kalandar is a mix of recipes inspired from different foods cooked in the homes across different states in Northern India. The spices used in these recipes are also sourced from the region from where the food is, to maintain the authentic taste. Mast Kalandar has managed to maintain the quality of food and service as they have expanded over the last 5 years.

 

Mast Kalandar only serves fresh food. Most of the other food chains have frozen food. So our USP is fresh food - which is wholesome, healthy and quality North Indian food, which is both fresh and homely, aptly fitting in the rapidly growing home meal replacement market in India.


The menu consists of 4 groups of combo preplated meals - priced between Rs. 55/- and Rs. 125/-. We also do party catering orders and cater to special occasion corporate parties

 

VO: Tell us about your partners and the plans?

GJ: We have secured series B investment from Helion Venture Partners, a multi-stage, India-focused venture fund and Footprint Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund. Angel investors, Salarpuria Group, also participated in this round of financing.


VO: How do you gauge the potential of food business in India? How far do you aim to reach in this business?

GJ: We think the market is growing rapidly, with the changing food habits of Indian consumers. There is a substantial increase in both dine-in and delivery business in the industry. We think the market will continue to expand at this rate for atleast next 10 years in India.

 

 VO: How many retail outlets are you planning in the near future? Which are the channels are you aiming at?

GJ: Mast Kalandar currently has 18 branches in Bangalore and one branch in Chennai & two in Hyderabad.

 

Mast Kalandar now aims at setting up 100QSR across India by the end of 2012. We are first looking to reach 100 stores in the metro and Class A cities in India. We will stick to our current format of restaurants for the time being.

 

VO: Food business in India is booming. How are you planning your marketing strategies to lure the customer base?

GJ: We believe in quality product at VFM cost to the consumer. We don’t market like FMCG and other retail companies. We do promotions and local store marketing activities. We also believe that digital marketing will be of immense value now and going forward.

 

VO: Are you taking the route of franchising to expand your business model? What would be the size of the store and what is the minimum investment required for the business?

GJ: We currently have only company owned stores. We will continue to expand by this route for some time. We are open to discussions for master franchisee opportunities. Our typical store size is about 1500 sq ft carpet area. We normally break even in about 10-14 months.


VO: Which cities are you aiming at the initial stage of business and what are the reasons for selecting them? How much turnover are you expecting from these cities?

GJ: We are looking at consolidating in the cities where we are already present first - Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. We are looking at cities which have a culture of dining out and the demographics suit our business model. We will be looking at getting in to the West and the North India sometime next year.

 

Gaurav Jain
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