At times most aspiring entrepreneurs are deterred by branding their business which considering intense competition, seems like an uphill task. Buying an established brand could put an entrepreneur and his business on the fast track to success. In this post, I’ll take you through the story of one such brand and how it led to the establishment of three very strong brands…
This is a story about Rajendra Kelshikar and Ravish Arora of Inn-Venue Hospitality Management Pvt. Ltd, a company that specializes in hospitality management and culinary services.
Rajendra Kelshikar was the CEO of Blue Diamond group of hotels and before that he has worked as a chef in Taj Intercontinental, Mumbai. Educated in Hotel Management, from the Institute of Catering Technology, Bombay, Strategic Planning in the Catering Industry, Cornell University, U.S.A, Chef’s Course from Hotel Catering and Institutional Management Associations, Great Britain, he has good grounding in the hotel business.
His partner, Ravish Arora, started his career as a sous chef at the renowned Oberoi Towers, Mumbai. His next stint was at the Blue Diamond Group of Hotels, Pune as Executive Chef and went on to become Food and Beverage Manager. A graduate of the Bombay Catering College, Ravish Arora has completed a kitchen-training program from the Oberoi School of Hotel Management, Thai cooking at the world famous Oriental Hotel Bangkok, Thailand, French cooking at Ecole des Arts Culinaries et de Hotelliere, Lyon, France and chocolate making at Barry Callebaut chocolate academy, Singapore.
Together they have built four of Pune’s most renowned brands in the catering and hospitality business…Baker’s basket, Polka Dots, Deccan Rendezvous and Red Carpet Hospitality and Culinary Academy.
The duo plunged in to business in the year 2000 when the Taj Group of Hotels acquired Blue Diamond Hotel from the Kirloskar family. Following the acquisition the Taj Group wanted to exit the bakery business. By then the five-star’s in-house bakery brand, Baker’s Basket was firmly entrenched as a brand in baked goodies market in Pune city. It was then that Rajendra Kelshikar, Chief Executive Officer of Pune’s erstwhile Blue Diamond Hotel decided to buy off the Baker’s Basket business.
To decipher the phenomenal success that Inn-Venue has achieved a closer look at their business model reveals:
- A passion for food- Rajendra Kelshikar and Ravish Arora are doing what they know and enjoy…dabbling in the food business.
- Both were armed with comprehensive knowledge of the food business which has been one of the key factors in spotting a viable business opportunity and taking it further.
- The ability to capitalize on the brand value of Baker’s Basket and building their business from there. They built their business on a strong foundation mainly because they realized the value of a brand. The realization that the Baker’s Basket brand had the kind of following in Pune that many in the marketing field could only dream about and the confidence that they could make a huge success out of it spurred them on.
- Their infrastructure and human resource are the best that the industry has to offer. They have invested huge amounts towards setting up our centralized kitchen, the factory and equipment that ensure maximum hygiene and food safety and it has paid back rich dividends.
- Their product range is very wide and they frequently add to the existing range. Baker’s Basket alone offers fresh cream pastries and savories in 18 different categories such as rolls, kathis, burgers, puffs, pizzas, salads, tarts, pies, desserts, chocolates and various types of cakes. The Polka Dots chain of restaurants offers a wide variety of Indian and international cuisine.
- The company’s clients appreciate its attention to details like presentation, the variety of the spread and the courtesy of the staff.
- Once the Baker’s Basket chain of stores was well established, the duo also decided to leverage the brand’s goodwill to enter other areas with Polka Dots, Deccan Rendezvous and Red Carpet Hospitality and Culinary Academy.
The idea behind this post was to demonstrate the value of recognizing the potential of an established brand, investing in it and leveraging it to establish new brands as opposed to starting from scratch. A smart move if you have the resources on hand!