The liquid nitrogen ice cream is catching up as a new and trendy way to enjoy the good old ice cream. Ice Cream Lab, a popular Middle East franchise is creating fresh and healthy favours and is expanding its presence internationally too. In the below interview with Sachin Vijay Pradhan – Director Operations, The Ice Cream Lab LLC, we find out how he has created a brand that brings you a magical and delicious experience.
We started as Master franchisee for Middle East at the end of the year 2015. However, at the end of 2016 the owners in USA wanted to get into a new business and hence we decided to buy over the brand and thus The Ice Cream Lab LLC – MENA is now Emirates Owned Company. At that time we had decided to expand the brand across the world as a business strategy and Growth Plan till 2025. At present we are present in 12 countries with 25 outlets.
As mentioned above the concept was developed by two young lads from the USA in 2013, who had scientific knowledge with an innovative mind and wanted to come up with something instant, fresh, healthy & theatric. However, due to lack of experience in F & B Retail they in a year approached us offering if we would like to take over the brand looking at the rich F&B experience of us 3 the core team. Mr. Rashed Hareb (Chairman & Owner – Ice cream Lab, with rich auditing background from PwC), Mr. Vikrant Tomer (CEO – IHM / Ex – McDonald, Tim Horton’s, Cold Stone Creamery) & Myself Sachin Pradhan (Director Operations with rich experience from Hospitality & F&B Industry in the area of HR, Training, Operations & R&D – Qantas, Metro Cash & Carry GMBH, Starbucks, Cold Stone Creamery, Tim Hortons etc)
The Ice Cream Lab name was a result of the entire theme of the concept such as – 1-The process of making ice cream in a minute using Liquid Nitrogen where you can see vapors of smoke which gives a feeling of Lab environment, 2-The ambiance of outlet unlike any other food brand where our main color scheme is white, blue and gray which again gives a very clean and sanitize look. 3-The recipe itself where we use all natural ice cream base which is made without us of Preservative, additives, emulsifier with very limited use of sugar making it a low calorie ice cream, again something which gives a lab feel.
Story behind the Logo is – 6 bubbles popping out of a laboratory beaker, expressing the tendency of liquid nitrogen getting evaporated in air leaving the frozen product behind.
1. Taste profile (Truly rich ice cream in taste)
2. Low Calorie ice cream (Approximately 120 Calorie per scoop)
3. No Preservative, No Additives, No Emulsifier (making it healthy ice cream)
4. 1 Minute Ice cream making process ( Making the quietest way to make ice cream)
5. Low Calorie but rich in texture and taste.
Young, energetic, passionate individual or team, with a fair background of F&B though not must, it’s preferable, the team or person would have enough capital on hand or have the right financial plan in mind so the expansion and launch are smooth without any hiccups.
Based on our experience it differs on basis of location, footfall and economy of that city or state. But based on the experience of stores opened so far it is in between one and half years to two years to achieve ROI.
The major challenge was there are too many ice creams in the market and they vary from affordable ones to expensive ones. Hence we had to introspect a lot before we launched the brand in terms of positioning of the brand. However, after studying the market in depth we decided to launch the brand as a Fresh & Healthy, Premium Ice Cream brand with affordable pricing with great taste.
We have been awarded as Most Innovative brand, Most liked brand, We were also awarded Certificate of Appreciation by Dubai Police. Besides the fact that the brand could establish itself in 12 different countries in 4 years time and still expanding further itself is the biggest achievement for our brand.
The business day starts with checking the daily operations, Sales, budget vs achievements, Supplier orders and payments, checking on new franchisee query and send a response to them, plan zoom call, direct call or meetings. followed by Sending email correspondence and coordination. Liasoning with present franchisees and follow up on how are they doing and offer help if required.
See the brand growing and taking shape. You pour your heart in growing the brand like your child by imbibing the culture and values that you would like to see in the brand. Today we already have 7 outlets in India in a span of one year which is one of the best achievement for us.
The growth of brand should always grow in Binary form such as from 1 to 2, 2 to 4, 4 to 8 and so on. We see our self as 500 outlets by the year 2025.
I would advise the readers that it’s all about the risk, as Shaikh Mohammed says. If you are scared to take a risk, then you are in the wrong place and wrong business. If an individual is confident about your brand, your product and your business module. Go for it. Don’t waste time thinking and procrastinating, whether or not to get into franchising. There are plenty of opportunities available and one must take advantage and get into franchising.
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