“We have just launched our new store design across the world. Dubai was the first market in the world to have tested this out. This design is very modern, keeping in mind our customer’s tastes and preferences. We are focused on giving our customers a great experience that they will always remember.” Said John Varghese, Vice President-Baskin Robbins International, Dunkin Brands Inc, in a conversation with MediAvataarME.com
In this interview, John talks about the eminence of brand Baskin Robbins in the Middle East and the way they are innovating to be able to hold the flag in the ever changing and vastly competitive consumer market. Here are the excerpts:
1.The Middle East’s perennial hot climate ensures round the year demand for ice-cream and dessert. How is Baskin Robbin’s performance graph so far?
Baskin Robbins has been extremely successful in the Middle East. We have more than 500 outlets within the GCC countries and are the largest QSR brand in terms of number of outlets. We have consistently grown in this market and we do not expect it to slow down anytime soon. Internationally this is one of our best markets. We invest a lot in our stores and giving a great customer experience is the key.
Good quality product with excellent service, in a great environment is the key to our success!
2.Which area gives you the highest yield in terms of footfall and revenue in turn?
We have just launched our new store design across the world. Dubai was the first market in the world to have tested this out. This design is very modern, keeping in mind our customer’s tastes and preferences. We are focused on giving our customers a great experience that they will always remember.
3.How do you design the product connection with a particular region in the Middle East?
We constantly innovate by launching new products. We are known by our name - Baskin 31 Robbins. ‘31’ stands for-one flavor for each day of the month +one flavor of the month. In total we have 32 different flavors available at any point of time. Of these 32 flavors, 16 keep changing regularly. Hence we ensure that our customers will always have something new every time they visit a BR store. We constantly innovate and make flavors that are relevant to a particular region or based on the latest trends. In the Middle East we have various products made specifically for the Arab consumer. We have a product called Emlaaq scoop, which is BIG scoop in Arabic. Then we have Burj Al Emlaaq, which is a towering sundae. We take extra efforts to make our product offering relevant to the needs of the Arab consumers and the latest trends.
4.How fruitful has been the brand’s association with Galadari in Middle East?
Galadari has been our partner for many years. They are one of the best partners in the world and have won the BEST LICENSEE of the year award many times. The Galadari leadership looks at the business from a long-term point of view and they invest in hiring the right talent, Training, Marketing and in opening new shops. We are very proud of our association with Galadari and their commitment to this business.
5.How do you see the competition from other organised ice cream players in this category? What strategies have you employed for handling the competition?
Competition is always welcome. We are the leaders by far but we cannot be complacent. We welcome competition as it always keeps us on our toes. We believe that every new competitor is only going to help widen the market for premium ice creams, which is very good for us. We strongly believe in what we do and our most loyal customers have been with us for years. We strive hard to keep our brand fresh and appealing to the relevant target segment.
6.People all over the globe are becoming more aware of their health and the frozen yogurt industry is soaring, do you see it diminishing the market share of ice creams and other high calorie servings?
Many new Yogurt chains have come up of late. Yogurt is a trend worldwide and that trend is being seen here in the Middle East as well. Yogurt served with fresh fruits is perceived by some to be healthy, but they are priced very high. I personally do not believe that they offer value. Good luck to them but I doubt if they have a big base of loyal repeat customers.
7.Social media is picking up immensely, what is Dunkin Brands doing on this front?
We see social media as big part of our strategy here in the Middle East. Our Partners (Galadaris) have already started using this in a big way and we will continue to explore new ways and means to use this medium to further our business.
8.What are your future expansion plans?
Middle East is one of our fastest growing regions in the World and with a strong and committed partner we are confident of growing even faster in the coming years.