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JSM to bring Japanese restaurant chain Inakaya to India

Reghu Balakrishnan  |  Mumbai 

JSM Corporation, founded by Jay Singh and Sanjay Mahtani in 2004, has brought international restutrant brands such as Hard Rock Cafe to the country

The JSM Corporation Pvt Ltd - a leading Indian franchise that runs US food & beverages chains such as Hard Rock Cafe and California Pizza Kitchen - will launch Japan's popular restaurant chain, Inakaya, in India.

The 40-year-old Inakaya serves traditional Japanese grilled food. The first Inakaya restaurant was opened in Tokyo in 1970 as an outlet with traditional robata-yaki features (ingredients grilled in front of guests).

"We will open our first Inakaya restaurant by the end of this year," said Jay Singh, co-founder and executive director, JSM Corp.

JSM, founded by Singh with Sanjay Mahtani, an amateur chef, in 2004, has brought international properties such as Hard Rock Cafe, California Pizza Kitchen, Trader Vic's, Trader Vic's Mai Tai Lounge to India, apart from opening two restaurants, Shiro and +91.

The group has also recently brought the largest American yogurt brand - Pinkberry - to India with the opening of yogurt bars, a new concept in the country.

"Our portfolio would be a mix of Asian, US and European cuisines. We have already specialised in Asian foods, creating our own Oriental concept with Chinese and Mongolian cuisines." The menu at the Shiro restaurant chain offers a mix of Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai cuisines.

Apart from Inakaya, JSM would bring a couple of other international restaurant chains to India this year.

"We will bring more brands. We are in advanced discussion with one of the leading American food & beverages chains and are expected to sign an agreement in the next two months," Singh added, refusing to disclose details.

Five-fold growth target

JSM Corporation has 23 outlets across seven international and local brands in India. The Rs 200-crore group has plans to grow its revenue five-fold within the next five years. Last October, PremjiInvest, the private equity arm of Azim Premji, had acquired a 22 per cent stake in JSM with an investment of $25 million (Rs 150 crore). The founders together hold 60 per cent in JSM, while the remaining stake is held by other individuals.

Saloni Nangia, president at retail consultancy Technopak, said, "Over the last decade, international brands have created a market for quick-service restaurants. However, higher-end QSRs would not be as aggressive in their expansion as the more mass market-oriented QSRs. The addressable market for them would be smaller, but enough to create a viable business opportunity across the top 10-12 cities initially."

Of the Rs 46,000-crore ($8.6-billion) Indian food service sector, the organised QSR segment is worth $1 billion (Rs 5,500 crore) and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30 per cent over the next five years.

Growing market
According to the National Restaurant Association of India, half of Indian consumers are eating out at least once every three months.

"India would surely accept more foreign brands. The eating-out market would evolve as it has done in all other markets - a mix of Indian and international brands. It would not be so much about European or Amercian or Asian brands, but more about the cuisine on offer, menu, pricing, a valid differentiation for the consumers, possible customisation for the market and a repeat value," Nangia added.

There are many factors that will support a growing eating-out culture in India - a young population, double-income-earner households, time paucity, international travel and exposure and increasing availability of Indian and international concepts and cuisines. Global QSRs give experiences Indian consumers did not have an opportunity to enjoy earlier, experts said.

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First Published: Mon, July 15 2013. 00:17 IST