Food retailers zero in on schools, colleges

Anjali Prayag Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018

New segment: Food retailing brands could soon change the face of college and school canteens. — S. Subramanium   -  The HIndu


Eating cold food out of tiffin boxes has become alien for students in the metros. Sensing the business opportunity, food retailing brands such as Café Coffee Day, Kaati Zone and Au Bon Pain have or are in the process of setting up outlets in school and college campuses in large cities.

Mr Gaurav Marya, President, Franchise India Holdings Ltd, estimates business in food retailing in the segment (including college canteens and food complexes) at Rs 500 crore-600 crore and growing at 15-20 per cent.

For coffee chain Café Coffee Day, the education vertical developed during fests and sports events when even temporary kiosks did brisk business. Realising the opportunity in this space, CCD set up outlets at IIM Bangalore, IIT Chennai, at Amity institutes and even a school in the city. It has 20 outlets on school and college campuses.

Au Bon Pain, the US-based bakery and café chain brand, was launched with a store at Harvard Square on the university campus. Globally, 15 per cent of its outlets are now housed in education campuses and it is looking at expanding the vertical in India too.

Kaati Zone, a QSR (quick service restaurant) chain that sells kaati rolls, is also eyeing schools and colleges as part of its expansion plans. Mr Kiran Nadkarni, Founder and Director, says with more women joining the ranks of ‘the working mother,' schools and colleges have become a business segment for QSRs.

Mr Marya, however, says retailers should watch out for ‘food fatigue' that students develop. “This segment tires of the same food,” he says.

Mr Ramakrishnan says seasonality of the business (holidays and vacations) could hurt the revenue cycle. CCD, therefore, rotates its people, placing them at other outlets during holidays. Although pricing was perceived to be a tricky factor, QSRs find that college kids these days have generous pocket money.

Published on March 17, 2011

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