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“Price is reasonable while taking into account cost and some profit”
Monday, 18 May, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
7th Heaven, one of India’s most dynamic dessert chain has rapidly grown since its conception in 2013. Swati Chugh, director, 7th Heaven, describes her company’s success story, while emphasising on pricing, in an email interview with Kimberley Fernandes. Excerpts:

The food and beverage industry has suffered a huge loss due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Comment.
--It has been tough and completely unprecedented. But we are holding fort as much as possible and doing everything we can to support our staff in our own way.

What kind of sales are you looking at post the Corona virus?
-- Since it has been predicted that the economy is going to take a hit, people are going to have less disposable income to spend. Therefore we have kept our projected sales figures conservative at around 70 per cent.

How was the last fiscal year with regards to sales and profits?
-- It was quite a good year for us. We ended up expanding our reach and creating a strong bank of loyal customers. We also became the largest bakery chain in this country, in terms of number of outlets as we have our presence across 21 states. We widened our customer base beyond expectations.

What about plans for expansion and diversification?
--We have big plans. However, with whatever that has happened we are expecting a slowing down of the execution of our plans. We will be opening our first ever international store in Dubai that will be a step forward towards having a more global presence.

Any plans for joint ventures and collaborations in the near future?
--Since we are a family-owned private business, we have no plans to look at joint ventures. However, we are always happy to collaborate with anyone or any brand that matches our brand ethos and can be in good sync with us.

Tell us about the concept of having a live kitchen.
-- The live kitchen is a state-of-the-art concept that helps us provide our consumers only with the freshest and softest cakes. Unlike other bakery chains that use a central kitchen to bake their products, we have a kitchen in every outlet where the products are made by highly trained professionals, using the finest ingredients. The cakes are decorated in front of the customers within 7 minutes. Customised cakes are also made in a day for our consumers to enjoy.

Are you planning on introducing anything new in view of the changing trends in the food and beverage industry in India?
--Well, it’s always important to update your products to stay abreast with the times. So we will be introducing newer varieties of international desserts to keep up with consumer demand. This is done with the help of a research and development team that has been working tirelessly, especially now, so that we can introduce innovative products. We have been known to always upgrade our menu with a new product added every month. We also give a seasonal or festive twist to the offering depending on the time of the year.

When did you establish your breakeven point?
--It took us more time than we anticipated, but we finally did it 4 years after the brand’s inception.

What is the pricing strategy you’ve adopted for your range of products?
--The pricing point is something that we have put a lot of thought and research behind so as to find the tipping point. It is neither too low that quality gets compromised just for sales, nor is it too high that it goes out of reach for consumers. The balance is such that the price is reasonable while taking into account cost and some profit.

Tell us about the ground work and research that goes into deciding appropriate locations for your outlets.
--The social infrastructure of the location matters. We have outlets in residential areas, around schools, colleges, offices, etc. to maintain proximity with our customers for their ease and convenience.

Tell us about your manufacturing facilities.
--We handpick the equipment that go into making our products so as to use top of the line machinery. The staff is highly trained and maintains professionalism in their duties.
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