Franchisor Interview: R K Prabhakar, Hug Foods Pvt Ltd

R K Prabhakar, CEO, Hug Foods Pvt Ltd
R K Prabhakar, CEO, Hug Foods Pvt Ltd

What is the story behind HUG? How it started and what is the inspiration?
Founder of Hug Frozen Deliciousness is Mr. Rishabh Oswal. After completing his studies from University of Nottingham he decided to be on the footstep of his family and planned to enter the Foods and Beverages segment and build his own brand as his family already own successful brands in the readymade garment segment by the name of  Monte Carlo and Cotton County. His parental business is more into manufacturing and he decided to maintain a link between his product and end users so he decided to start a business where he can have own manufacturing with direct customer interaction and for that F&B industry was the best suitable. He had studied the market of desserts and bakery and decided to come up with a high end product which was lacking in the market. As there are numerous products in the market which can serve your hunger but at a best price no one is here to serve you best quality desserts at a reasonable price. This is how Hug had started. If you talk about inspiration then it is in his blood to cater something new and best in the market. The exposure he had got from studying abroad was very helpful as he knew what was currently trending in countries other than India.

What all services and products that HUG deals in?
Hug offers Frozen Yogurt, Premium Italian Gelatos, Donuts, Cupcakes, Cheesecakes and all other type of desserts and bakery products besides having Shakes, Smoothies, Coffee, Ice Tea etc.

What strategies you employ to maintain the standards of your company?
We have single point of production which is being directly monitored by founder Mr. Rishabh Oswal. Nothing can be passed away without his knowledge or testing.

What are the future expansion strategies?
In 2014 we have planned to generate franchises for all over India. We need better monitoring of product and operations so we will be appointing master franchise at each region or circle defined by company.

What motivated you to go for franchise route for your business expansion?
We were very focused from the start that in order to build a business that would span the entire country, we had to choose the franchisee route. We as a company want to focus on the R&D of the product, building a brand and maintaining the quality. The franchisee on the other hand can better run their outlets as they would have more local knowledge than the company.

How many outlets of HUG are currently in operation, and how many of them are running through franchise?
6 outlets – 3 Franchise & 3 Company owned.

How your franchise business models benefit aspiring entrepreneurs to build a successful career?
Our product is a part of basic need to human so demand can never get over. When we are ready to supply best product then demand has be on the same quality and quantity. It is a never ending career with well defined profit. But every success requires hard work and we have a defined process of hard work with us.

What support and training you offer to your franchisees?
 For every franchise we ask them to work with our Area Coach so that they can learn how we have developed a profitable process of business with Hug franchise. It is the best way to learn a business. Besides that, our team would help right from sight selection, recruitment of staff, store layout and the daily day to day working of the business.

How the company’s franchise model could benefit aspiring entrepreneurs?
We are providing 40% and more margins on our products to our franchise. Our franchise model defines process with less operating expenses. This makes our franchise to earn a good and healthy profit on their investment.

How will you differentiate your brand with competitors by USPs?
The biggest USP of our brand is the product quality.
We only use natural flavors imported directly from Italy. We have gelatos not ice creams that mean it has zero air content, is creamier and loads of other benefits our yogurts are unique and not available with any other brands. Most of our gelatos are gluten free and all our Yogurts are 97 percent fat free. We do not use any preservatives or additives. We have maximum varieties of toppings and flavors. We regularly change our flavors and have a Flavor of the Day rotating everyday. We have opted for the self serve format, because it gives more freedom to he customer to customize their product and unlike all the other brands, we don’t restrict the customers to choose only a fixed number of toppings. The customer is free to choose as many toppings as they want a they can even mix upto six flavors of Yogurt without any additional charges.

What opportunities and challenges are laying ahead in this sector, considering the franchise sector, which is getting bigger with time?
Setting a franchise business is easy but defining it through product and operations are still a big challenge. Every market is different in India and company has to think differently with different market. Still joining hands with franchise with even attitude gives limitations so it is better to have flexibility option.

How are you looking forward in the development of HUG ?
In simple words, we want it to be the one stop for all dessert lovers. We will be putting our steps firmly but strongly so that we never need to step back. We have full confidence in our business model.


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