"We Expect Our Overall Outlet Count to Reach 150 by 2022", says Adeeb Ahamed

Indian summers can be hard to hold up under without desserts. While our homegrown cheap ice-brands—like Mother Dairy, Amul, Havmor take into account a mass market, there is currently a developing affection for premium brands among icrecream darlings. To keep your summer pangs in control, the newest among the lot taking India’s ice-cream sector by storm is Cold Stone Creamery, an American brand launched here in 2015. 

Adeeb Ahamed,the 37-year-old, Abu Dhabi-based businessman, who is on the board of the $7.4 billion Lulu Group International, is nudging the group into new directions with brands like Cold Stone Creamery that has already started hitting the streets with their delectable concepts and flavours.

In an interview with Restaurant India, Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director, Tablez Lulu Financial Group, shares his further expansion plans and how he wants to foray further in this business.

Tell us about the brand

Cold Stone Creamery was started back in 1988 in Tempe, Arizona in the US. The brand has since then revolutionized the ice cream industry in the US and World, with over 1500 outlets present across more than 30 countries.

Tablez holds the master franchise rights for Cold Stone Creamery in India and Sri Lanka. We opened our first store in Kochi in 2016 and we are now present in cities across India, including Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, and Chennai.

What makes your brand different from your competitors?

Cold Stone Creamery stands out from the crowd for its unique flavours coupled with a unique experience. Cold Stone promises the freshest ice cream that preserves the end user experience in terms of texture, taste and quality, which are otherwise compromised in traditional delivery cycles.

Adding to it, consumers are provided with a freedom of choice– from flavours to mix-ins to variety toppings. The brand even allows consumers to inject their creativity into the process, resulting in an experience that is uniquely different from any brand that is on offer in India.

Why did you choose India as your destination?

When evaluating the possibility of bringing concepts under our umbrella we consider a number of key criteria. These include a strong desire for the Cold Stone Creamery’s offering in the market, the presence of consumers who appreciate quality, flavor and freshness, as well as the track record of the franchisor being focused on hospitality and quality of operations. We feel we’ve ticked every box with Cold Stone Creamery and this confidence allowed us to bring the brand to the sub-continent.

What is the scope of this business in India?

Premium ice cream segment is growing at a fast clip in India. Cold Stone Creamery offers a perfect blend of Indian elegance and international standards with its amazing in-store experience.

Ice creams sales in India have shown double digit growth over the past few years. Adding to it consumption levels have also rapidly increased over the past decade. According to estimates, the sales volumeis expected to nearly double in India by 2021.

All this has been aided by the constantly evolving infrastructure and the demands of the discerning consumers. In addition to local brands, consumers are very much open to experimenting with fresh and bold flavours and experiencing unique offerings like that at Cold Stone Creamery.

How do you plan to scale your business? What are your future plans?

Currently, we have 15 outlets in India (including DLF Cyber Hub, opened recently) The stores are present across all major cities – Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Delhi NCR in India. CSC will be looking to expand its presence across India with 10 more stores this year (2018). By 2022, we expect our overall outlet count to reach 150 across the country.

Are you planning to sub-franchise?

We are currently not looking at sub-franchising the brand, but will not discount at looking at the model in the future.

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