Recognising the importance of online business for California Burrito, a Mexican fast-casual food restaurant brand in India, Dharam Khalsa – director of the brand, said that they experimented with two cloud kitchens recently which were profitable starting in the first month, so now they will work on them alongside their traditional mall, high-street, and tech-park stores. “Going forward, we believe that the online portion of our business will continue to grow rapidly. Last year, for instance, we saw a 200 per cent growth in our online business. We believe it will be triple digit this year as well,” he added.
Currently operational in Bangalore and Gurgaon, the brand is planning to launch its outlets in Mumbai and Hyderabad by 2020. “As of now, we have 31 restaurants in all. We just launched in NCR this fall and will be adding another 10 stores up here this year, in addition to the five in Bangalore,” said Khalsa. The brand is eyeing to have 46 outlets by end-2019 and a 60 crore run rate.
“Our business has grown by 50 per cent every year for the last four years,” told Khalsa about the performance of the Mexican food brand.
Donning light on the inception of the brand, Khalsa reminisces that his co-founder and friend Bert Mueller studied abroad in Rajasthan and noticed that there was almost no Mexican food there. “We felt this was odd as Mexican and Indian cuisines have a lot of overlap and there should ideally be a natural customer base in the country. We did several food trials based on this premise and the reception we received gave us a lot of confidence. Not surprisingly, we found that there was an immediate demand in Bangalore, where we began our business for Mexican fast-casual food. When our first store opened, we literally had lines of customers through the door!” he added.
Underscoring the brand’s USP, Khalsa said that they serve healthy fresh food quickly, at a reasonable price. “We are also highly customisable, so each person can get exactly what they want.
Moreover, health as a segment is growing quickly, particularly among office-goers, and we provide food that is healthy and fresh. It’s hard to work after eating a greasy burger or a heavy biryani but in this segment, one can see the increasing prominence of brands like eat.fit, Freshmenu and ourselves, as customers become more and more conscientious about their food choices,” told Khalsa.