The VITS Kamats Group, which runs a chain of hotels and restaurants, has expanded into the education sector by setting up the Kamats Hospitality Academy of Skill (KHAS) to promote earn-and-learn programmes.

The Group plans to set up these institutes in five locations every year across Maharashtra. The Group generated a turnover of ₹100 crore in FY22, and currently, it runs one academy in Mumbai.

According to Vikram Kamat, Founder and Chairman of VITS Kamats Group, since most of the academies will be housed within existing colleges, there will be no huge capital investment required.

It started its first batch about six months ago in an institute in Kalyan, a suburb of Mumbai.

Kamat said, “Expanding to five locations every year will give us the capacity to have around 100 students per institute. From this year on, after the first batch completes the first year, we will expand to other parts of Maharashtra because we are affiliated with the Maharashtra State Vocational Board and Mumbai University.”

The Chairman said that the primary reason for entering this market is to offer the expertise that the sector needs and ensure students get placed.

“The biggest problem faced by colleges is getting students placed. Despite spending time in catering colleges, they are not job-ready. In fact, the six months of industrial training, which is a part of most of the curriculum, is not enough. Hence, with our academics, we intend to bring more attention to skills needed for the industry,” Kamat said.

He added, “Our focus is on skill-based training. Students can join us even after 10th grade, work for two years and get 12th-grade equivalents from the Maharashtra State Vocational Board. There are courses for 10th and 12th-grade students, and then the graduation courses. Students learn on the job and can earn as well.”

New restaurants

In addition to this, the Group has also launched a new line of premium south Indian dining restaurants, Kamats Legacy. Currently, it runs two restaurants in Mumbai and plans to expand in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Kamat said, “Our focus is to expand in Mumbai. Presently, we have two locations serving food in Bhandup and Thane. We are coming up with more than five such locations across Mumbai. In Gujarat, we are considering Surat and Ahmedabad.”

He noted that the annual capex for this expansion is around ₹1 crore as the company will undertake the expansion through a combination of franchise-owned and company-operated outlets.

The Chairman also added, “We deliver both through our outlets and are looking to expand the delivery business and see if it can be maximised.”

In total, the Group operates 50 restaurants and 20 hotels.