Opening their first branch in Dubai last year, Indian milkshake brand Keventers plans to expand their reach to 30 branches in the country by the end of 2018. A result of the positive feedback from the market, Sohrab Sitaram, CEO of Keventers speaks to Mahak Mannan about their plans for the region.
With its roots dug as deep as the history of India, Keventers, a brand synonymous with milkshakes, was first established in 1925 by Edward Keventers and later acquired by Indian businessman Ram Krishna Dalmia in 1940, however the brand was revived in 2015 with a fresh identity and team taking the company to new heights.
Keventers currently operates four outlets in the Dubai, located in Oasis Mall, Karama, Burjuman and La Mer and plans to have a total of 30 locations by the end of this year.
“Keventers is now establishing its footprint in the UAE with plans to open outlets in Dubai and Sharjah, strengthening our presence here,” Sohrab Sitaram, CEO of Keventers says.
“The United Arab Emirates is the perfect launch pad for the brand in the Middle East, we have been fortunate to get a warm welcome here. The initial response we got was motivating and re-assuring for us and within the span of a year, we have opened four outlets and plan to open 30 outlets within 2018.”
“We have been able to secure some of the most iconic locations in Dubai and have several requests by franchisees to open outlets in different Emirates. We want to be the brand you would not think twice to indulge in,” he adds.
Confirmed upcoming locations include Sahara Centre in Sharjah, Dubai International Financial Centre and Al Seef by Meeras. According to the Keventers business model, 60% of the outlets will be owned by the brand while 40% will be franchised.
“Milkshakes in the Iconic Keventers bottles bring a sense of nostalgia, the brand image and the connection it has with the younger generation convinced us that there was a gap in the market here. Milkshakes are loved by all nationalities and ages,” Sitaram explains.
“Our track record in India also proves that we are one of the most watched F&B brand where we have opened 200 outlets over a span of five years.”
Entering a new and evolving market meant that Keventers had to shake up their offerings to fit the palates of the region, “We love to customise our menu for the market we are in. For the UAE we have a special menu with camel milk and have added local flavours like the date jallab,” Sitaram adds.
“Our menu also offers a lot of fun milkshake combinations like nutella marshmallow, avocado honey and caramel popcorn. There really is no brand whose core focus is on milkshakes in the UAE. Many brands have them as a side offering but our business revolves around milkshakes.”
Being a fairly new but strong player in the market, investing in the right marketing channels to present your products is of prime importance to secure market share, according to the CEO, “UAE has a big appetite and people are very open to trying new places. There are several new projects coming up and new developments will open avenues for new locations for us.
“We hustle when it comes to innovating our menu and acquiring our locations. We have kept our marketing game strong. We want to retain our customers and invite the potential ones to have a Keventers experience. Also, we are a very instagrammable brand which means we will be a part of the generations to come and will keep moving with the new times.
“Our focus is on digital marketing. We want to be in the pockets of our customers. With more venues, we need to focus on location based marketing to activate each venue, and at the same time, we need to build an overall brand awareness for Keventers in the UAE.”
Along with marketing, it is also important to look into costs in order to ensure a profitable business, but never compromise on quality, the CEO says, “The return on investment (ROI) at the store level is ensured by keeping the rent revenue ratio low, simplified processes, low operating cost, zero wastage and low initial setup cost. Keventers as a model is successful as it has managed to ensure all these key factors in achieving its desired ROI,” he says.
“We are in the process of collaborating with many upcoming events in the UAE. Apart from this, we also arrange community meet ups at our outlets and get people of similar interests together. Moving with the trends we have also had several blogger meet ups where foodies of Dubai experienced our brand and we will continue doing so as we grow further.”