Spencer’s Retail Ltd, part of the Rs 13,500 crore RPG Enterprises, has formed a joint venture with Au Bon Pain, a Boston, Massachusetts headquartered fast casual dining and bakery café chain, to launch the latter’s outlets in India. Au Bon Pain, which when translated means ‘With Good Bread’, has more than 200 outlets in the US, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
The JV has been formed between Spencer’s Retail and Varin Narula, the master franchisee of Au Bon Pain in India. Narula, who is the Director and Promoter of Au Bon Pain, Thailand, has 11 years of successful track record of handling the brand’s franchise in that country.
The outlets would offer a choice of healthy and nutritious food, bakery products and beverages in a relaxed and casual environment. The Indian joint venture is planning its first 2000 sq ft flagship store in Bangalore by December 2008. In the next couple of years, 100 such standalone stores of an average size of 1500 sq ft in Tier I and Tier II cities would come up across India.
The total investment allocated is Rs 50 crore in the first 24 months. The stores would serve a ‘build-it yourself’ range and assortment of breakfast and lunches like soups, stews, sandwiches, salads, bread and bakery items, confectionaries and hot and cold beverages. Keeping in mind the cultural and traditional dietary preferences, the menu in India would also include a line of vegetarian dishes.
Sanjiv Goenka, Vice Chairman, RPG Enterprises, said, “We are very happy with the Au Bon Pain alliance, which will enable us to introduce in India a world-class fast casual dining experience. The association, therefore, is commensurate with our brand proposition – Taste the World – which embodies the best that the world has to offer to our consumers.”
Sue Morelli, President & CEO, Au Bon Pain, said, “India provides exciting expansion opportunities for American companies. With Spencer’s extensive retail experience through a variety of channels to accommodate different footprints, we know that Spencer’s will have great success introducing our brand to India.”