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INTERVIEW

“Next big thing in Indian café culture”
Monday, 23 April, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Shraddha Joshi, Mumbai


Having marked its footprint globally and captivatedpatrons with its 410 cafes located across 18 nations, Papparoti Café, a Malaysian bun brand, has now entered North India. Vikram Mahajan & Mehul Gupta,co-founders, Genext V&M International, have signed the master franchise agreement with Papparoti International General Trading LLC to open around 10 Papparoti outlets in Delhi NCR in a span of next three years. Papparoti’s unique recipe and exceptional taste of its golden brown buns demonstrates its success that has helped the brand to witness different expressions, globally. It is much evident in the brand’s tagline – ‘One Bite Different Expressions.’ Mahajan and Guptadelve into the future plans, strategy and cafe culture in India and more, in an email interaction with Shraddha Joshi.

Tell us briefly about your company, including when it was established, the initial investment and the technology used.
In 2003, Malaysia was the first to introduce the unique snack concept of Papparoti. The brand specialises in a unique mouthwatering coffee-caramel coated butter bun served alongside a variety of beverage compliments and delicious savoury food. The aroma, freshness and textures of the bun have captivated audiences all around the globe. The brand today has expanded with over 410+ cafes in 18 countries like the UAE, Canada, Indonesia, Europe and now in India.

The first Papparoti outlet of Delhi NCR opened in December 2017 in DLF Cyberhub Gurgaon and second outlet opened in March 2018. The brand also made a presence in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Gujarat. In next five years, the brand shall have over 35 cafés in India itself.

Genext V&M International LLP is a company formed as a franchise of Papparoti for Delhi NCR, co-founded by Vikram Mahajan & Mehul Gupta. With an initial investment of approximately Rs 10 crore they have opened two outlets and have expansion plans to open 10 outlets in the city in the coming five years.

The distinctive feature of the brand is the soft fluffy bread bun which has a buttered centre and sweet caramel crust which makes it crispy outside. The frozen dough has a process of 10 hours of fermentation and is coated with a coffee-caramel topping and freshly baked to golden brown Papparoti buns.

What are the innovative products offered by you? What makes you different from competitors?
The Papparoti brand’s success owes to the authentic and exceptional taste of its golden brown buns accompanied with a delectable assortment of hot and cold beverages. Baked fresh, the buns have a unique recipe and are made with a series of textures and layers, starting from the crispy coffee flavoured crust made from the finest flour to the soft buttery centre. This taste gets enhanced with the amazing variety of toppings on the bun available in café. It could be tempting Nutella with nuts, cheese, salted caramel topping or the newly talked topping, lotus biscuits. It is surely a completely innovative product than the conventional waffles, cakes, cookies, and doughnuts.

Moreover, the café shall provide value for money combos of bun with Pappa hot &cold drinks and will redefine your experience with its great quality coffee, signature aromatic tea flavours, Arabic coffee, hot chocolate, milkshakes, smoothies and many more. A host of savoury food items including an all day breakfast, appetisers, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, pastas will be available too.

It’s not a usual café serving just coffee & sandwiches but a lot more interesting things at a good value!These scrumptious buns can be enjoyed at any time of the day as a perfect snack or dessert or along with your favourite cup of coffee or tea. The brand’s USP is the bun and the premium service it provides in the café. It should be the next big thing in the Indian café culture.

What is the size of the cafe market in North India? Have people shifted to the cafe culture from restaurants?What are the opportunities for the cafe market in North India?
There is a great potential in the café market in North India. Nowadays, people, especially, the youth prefer casual dining over any other fine dine restaurants. The best thing about cafes is that they provide appetising meals & beverages at a good deal. Whereas fine dine restaurants are overly priced. Cafés are a perfect place for any families, friends as well as office colleagues. Hence it appeals to all communities, societies, genders, age groups. Therefore, opportunity for cafés is definitely massive in India.

What are the challenges faced by the cafe market in North India? What steps are you planning to take to overcome the same?
The main challenges usually a café might face is to maintain the quality of the product while offering it at a good price. Another thing is to provide a good table to table service and not just self-service. Other factors that are important are food presentation, packaging, cleanliness, ambience and a lively atmosphere.

Papparoti aims to give customers a great experience with its scrumptious buns that are very filling along with a good table to table service. The café is priced reasonably with a cost of Rs 800 only for two persons. The brand not only serves an innovative product but also a hearty meal comprising all kinds of hot & cold beverages, savoury food like burgers, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, appetisers. The café has a lively cozy ambience with a friendly staff. Cleanliness is must.

What is your target group? Are you primarily eyeing the youth or do you have something for all age groups?
The scrumptious Papparoti buns can be enjoyed at any time of the day as a breakfast, snack or dessert or along with your favourite cup of coffee or tea. Be it children, men or women of any age groups, the brand shall appeal to all taste buds. Papparoti Café can be an ideal place for children birthday parties, ladies lunch kitties or even for any business meetings. The café has a lot many options to offer to satisfy all kinds of people and occasions.

Will you expand your business in Delhi, or do you have plans to set up shop in other metropolitan cities as well?
After Delhi NCR, the company shall be interested in looking at other cities in North India such as Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jaipur.

What will be your strategy to attract business? Do you plan to organise events. In this regard? What will be your short-term strategy to voice your expertise and promote your brand till the time 10 outlets of your cafe are launched?
Prime location is the key to attract the right customers. The brand has already opened in DLF. Cyber hub being a prime corporate hub of Gurgaon and DLF Mall of India-Noida, which is the largest shopping mall of India. The brand is looking to open outlets at some of the best high footfall shopping malls and high streets of Delhi’s prime areas.

Apart from this, as a short-term strategy the brand is constantly marketing itself on digital & print media to promote itself. Online ordering and home delivery through great platforms like Zomato and Swiggy is a great way of reaching out to customers. Marketing events such as participation in food festivals, influencer events and third-party associations are also a great way to attract business.

For long, the cafe culture was known by foreign brands. How are you looking at making it exclusively Indian?North India being known for its variety of food, have you inculcated Indian offerings in your cafe?
Papparoti is an international chain with 410+ outlets present in 18 countries. Despite being a foreign chain, the brand offers a product that appeals to every taste bud especially Indians who are fond of having the maska bun and chai. Papparoti buns are a twist to the conventional pav or maska bun yet unique in itself with its delicious soft & crispy texture.

Many Indian avid travellers are already in love with this concept and are regular customers in Dubai.

Apart from that we have kept many Indianised savoury assortments such as chicken/veg chow which is a butter chicken/veg curry in a hollowed bread bowl. Many sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pastas, eggs, appetisers having Indian flavours are also available in the menu. The brand also offers its signature Pappa milk tea which is loved by Indians and also a variety of aroma teas.

A variety of milkshakes, smoothies and frappes, hot & cold coffees are also available.

Share your views on how Mahajan and Gupta have benefited with Genext coming together.
Vikram Mahajan & Mehul Gupta have collaborated and identified Papparoti brand as a unique addition to the Indian cafe market. They have worked together closely to take the franchise of Papparoti of Delhi NCR which was quite a challenge as they had to compete under various brand guidelines, procedures and due diligence. As young entrepreneurs, Mehul & Vikram share ideas and are always seeking for unconventional ideas to market the brand, enhancing customer experience, experimenting with food yet keeping in mind the Indian comfort palate.  

In the long term, as the name Genext i.e. Generation Next suggests, the company is also savvy  to bring various distinguished and famous multinational brands to India with the stimulus of contributing to the growth and development of India tourism and hospitality as per the international standards.
 
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