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With an aim to revive the iconic milkshake brand Keventers, Agastya Dalmia, third generation scion of the Dalmia family, teamed up with Sohrab Sitaram & Aman Arora and set out on a mission to revamp and reintroduce the brand with a new look and feel. The USP of the brand is their high nostalgic and recall value. The hero of the brand is their classic Keventers bottle and its recipe that has been used for ages. Today the brand clocks in an average sale of Rs1,20,000 per day. With firm vision in sight, the trio is targeting to launch 8 to 10 franchises per month, and is poised to open 300 outlets by February 2018. During this exclusive interaction, the team shared their disruptive strategies to bring the brand on a global canvas.

You are a part of the Dalmia dynasty. What made you invest in Keventers?

Agastya Dalmia, Director, Keventers: Keventers was first established in 1925 by a Swedish dairy entrepreneur Edward Keventer, having a legacy of over 100 years. Down the years, Keventers was brought by the Dalmia family, and was manufacturing not just milkshakes but also butter, ghee, and condensed milk as well. All these products were sold commercially but we also sent packages to the Indian army in the high-altitude areas. Unfortunately, the area where the factory was located – Malcha Marg was declared as a diplomatic area, which meant running a factory there wasn’t allowed anymore, and Keventers had to shut shop. In 2014, we decided to revive the brand and get into the milkshake business.

How lucrative is the proposition for you?

Agastya Dalmia: We opened our first company owned outlet in March 2015 and realized that the model is very affordable and the returns are very high compared to any other QSR concept. The fact that space is also not a constraint; because we require minimum of 100 sqft space and breakeven can be met within 1 year of opening. This created a lot of interest in people and by September 2016, we hit the target of 50 outlets across India. In August 2016, Keventers opened its first international outlet in Nepal. So yes, it's been incredibly lucrative and we have enjoyed every moment of it.

Keventers has had a history to its survival and it finally got shut. What drew you towards revival of the same? What was the revival strategy that you planned? How did you build a strong team?

Agastya Dalmia: People’s bend towards healthy lifestyle drew us to revive the brand. Aspirational value and amalgamation of old world and new world attached to the brand has been the revival strategy of the brand. We started with a small team and made sure we had right people and right number of people at every phase.

You have a big mission in place. How do you plan to take the growth trajectory ahead?

Agastya Dalmia: Currently we have 97 outlets. We will be opening our 100th outlet soon. All this has been achieved in a period of one year. By 2018, we will be expanding two folds – International presence in all the major cities across the globe which we are in talks with and establishing a strong network of Keventers in all the other major cities of India and not just Delhi NCR. We have budgeted 200 additional outlets by the year 2018, thereby taking the total number of Keventers to around 300 by the year 2018.

How has been the learning experience?

Agastya Dalmia: Aman and I are young but have the drive to run this, and Sohrab of course comes with years of experience and every day is a learning experience. His expertise lends to running the business model and keeping everything on track. So yes, it has been a great learning experience, rather every day there is a new learning.

Have you retained any component of the heritage brand or has it been renovated completely?

Agastya Dalmia: We tried to maintain the heritage of the brand by having elements from the past like photos, logo and glass bottles and of course the recipes of the classic shakes. The branding is the fusion of modern appealing designs and trends, which were to be fused with the iconic and historical legacy of the brand itself.

How did your friends come on board?

Agastya Dalmia: In 2014, Aman Arora and I decided to reinvent the company, as Keventers is a brand that has a great recall value among the consumers. We approached Sohrab, as we needed an experienced entrepreneur to lead and structure the growth strategy and to build the brand from scratch. He joined the team as a partner and currently is the Director and the CEO of the company and there has been no looking back since then.

What’s your message for new age entrepreneurs?

Agastya Dalmia: Follow your dreams and believe in yourself.

What made you be a part of this brand revival?

L-R- Sohrab Sitaram, Agastya Dalmia and Aman Arora

Sohrab Sitaram, CEO & Director, Keventers & Aman Arora, Director, Keventers: The brand is iconic and everyone from our grandparents to their parents and our parents has grown up sipping Keventers. It has a nostalgic feel to it and we jumped at the opportunity to revive this brand and bring it back to life.

How has been growth journey so far?

Sohrab Sitaram & Aman Arora: We are growing exponentially as a brand. We will open 100 outlets this year and expect to open a total of 300 outlets by end of next year. Keventers as a brand will open across India and several other countries. Majority of the outstation operations will follow the route of franchising. This is mainly to facilitate and take advantage of the local knowledge, business trends, marketing and efficiency in consultation with our local partner who has taken the master franchisee. The next step in retail segment is to establish our foothold in the international market. We have already opened an outlet in Nepal and finalized a few stores in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania in the African market. Furthermore, we want to get into the distributor ship market via our milk – cow’s milk to be specific followed by the flavoured milkshake business where the milkshakes will also be sold off retail outlets.

What were the initial challenges you faced?

Sohrab Sitaram & Aman Arora: The team faced two parallel challenges initially – To introduce a standardized product at all outlets and the other being whether to foray into retail or distribution. The milk bottle underwent a radical change as well – the old DMS bottle was made sleeker. The cursive flourish and font of the original logo were retained but the term ‘Since 1925’ was added at the top, the tagline ‘The Original Milkshake’ appeared at the bottom, and the outline of a milk bottle was placed within the logo. Nostalgia, Old school, Heritage were the values the brand focused on to build a high recall value in market, and thus the product design was an important aspect in the marketing strategy.

What’s the brand’s USP?

Sohrab Sitaram & Aman Arora: The USP of the brand is the Glass Bottle and the age old specialty of Keventers – the recipe! It is offering the traditional recipes which are called the classic shakes, thick milkshakes that are more aspirational, the fruity range which is full of fruits and then we have a little range for kids (bubblegum flavor) which are the fun shakes. Apart from this, we also have cold coffee, which everybody loves. And the fact that the brand carries with it a nostalgic feel and vibe.

As you are currently present in very selected cities, how do you plan to capture pan-India?

Sohrab Sitaram & Aman Arora: Currently, we have the monopoly in this space as there is no other brand that specifically focuses on milkshakes. The growth strategy was first to establish a formidable presence in north India where currently we have accomplished 70% of our targeted budgets. The next stage involves creating presence in all the metropolitan cities followed by tier 2 cities. The third phase is setting up outlets abroad in all major metropolitan cities across the globe. The fourth phase will involve setting up outlets in major states of all the potential cities across the globe and tier 3 cities in India. We have established our presence in Nepal, and are setting up operations in Kenya as well. We have finalized expansion in Dubai, Sharjah, California and Sweden. Additionally, we are also in talks to establish presence in countries like Maldives, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

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