WOWED BY THE PAV
Hotelier India|November 2021
Optimum utilisation of space, efficient workflow management, innovative menu planning – that is how Jumboking’s Dheeraj Gupta gave the humble vada pav a contemporary makeover
VINITA BHATIA

The greatest leveller in Mumbai is the ubiquitous vada pav. Be it the common man on the street or a honcho with a corner office in a MNC, it is one dish few can refuse.

When McDonald’s entered India in 1996, there was a clamour for its burgers and fries. Yet, the sway of the humble vada pav remained unshakeable.

This got a young Dheeraj Gupta thinking on how he could build a business that capitalised the charm of the dish but adopted the operational efficiency of the giant QSR chains. In 2001, he took a loan of INR 2 lakh, rented a 160 square feet space outside Mumbai’s bustling Malad railway station and launched Jumboking.

Modeled on the lines of McDonald’s popular burger, not only was the snack 20% bigger than what was served by street vendors, it was also sold in a hygienic packaging. By March 2020, the brand had grown to 103 stores and is set to expand to 180 outlets by March 2022 across 11 cities.

However, Gupta maintained that 80% of these stores will be Mumbai-based. He outlines some inflection points in the business over the past two decades and shares his view on why franchising is the path to success.

KEY BUSINESS EVOLUTION

Firstly, the industry has become more product-focused, and Gupta would like to believe that Jumboking’s success had a role to play in this. There are QSRs focusing solely only momos or biryani. Kind of brand specialisation benefits customers who gain from better quality and prices. This was not the case a decade ago, so, it is a huge shift.

Another major transition is how outsourcing has taken centerstage. From wanting to do everything inhouse, like putting up their kitchens or holding on to secret recipes; all players have collaborated with high quality manufacturers.

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