United Restaurants Ltd (URL) is keeping a close watch on the burgeoning fast food retail business, which is estimated to be worth over Rs 1,500 crore, one-third of which comprises the pizza market. With the rise in disposable income and increase in demand for convenience food, URL sees a great potential in the fast food segment.
After the recent acquisition of 49 per cent stake by Kotecha Capitals in United Restaurants Ltd, the company is now looking at expanding their flagship brand US Pizza in India, besides launching new brands. In keeping with its expansion plans, United Restaurants has appointed Sunil Kumar as CEO for its US Pizza brand.
Kumar will be responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of the company’s plans. He will play a key role in acquiring master franchisees for the brand across India and abroad. Kumar is a hotel management graduate and has been associated with the food and beverage industry for the past 18 years. He joined the US Pizza operations team in 2004 as General Manager and has been responsible for taking US Pizza to 26 cities across India. He is guiding the brand to become a 150-restaurant chain by 2009.
Speaking about URL’s plans to get into the Indian fast food business, the company’s Managing Director Akbar Khwaja said, “We will be getting into Indian fast food with our brand Satvik, where we will offer kathi rolls, aloo paranthas, vada paav, samosa and bhaajis. We will roll out the first Satvik store in Mumbai by next month and are targeting 50 outlets, including kiosks, by March 2009. Our emphasis will continue to be on health, hygiene and taste. Further, we will also be looking at launching a brand to promote Indian fast food worldwide.”
He further said, “We have brought in branded sandwich with Toastyz, which recently opened its first store in Hyderabad. We have plans to have 20 such outlets by March 2009.”
The company has also earmarked Rs 25 crore for its plans to acquire and nurture other fast food brands. URL spends close to Rs 3 crore on its communication, but it does not have any plans at present to come out with a TVC, preferring to concentrate on BTL advertising only.