Viren D’Silva a brand communication specialist with an experience of over twenty years in various management roles in the sports industry joined hands with Sijo Mathew in building their dream project of “India’s most loved burger brand”. TW’s Mohua Kar in conversation with Viren D’Silva on the idea behind GFB and the challenges and opportunities in today’s extremely sensitive as well as dynamic market scenario in the FnB segment.
- How three of you met and what led to the idea of GFB coming on the stage?
In the year 2019, Sijo Mathew launched Good Flippin Burgers. In 2020, I and Sid Marchant quit our corporate careers and came on board full-time. We came together because of the different skill sets we possess that align with our vision to build India’s most loved burger brand. We wanted to build for scale from day one because we believed that there was product market fit and if we were able to establish the other pillars of organizational efficiency, namely – company, people, and process, then the sky was the limit.
Talking about our backgrounds, Sijo Mathew worked with US Military and NATO in their peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan, Sid Marchant was Category Head (Food & Beverage) at Tata Starbucks, and I ran the sports franchises, Kerala Blasters and Tamil Thalaivas. I met Sid when he partnered with me in the Tibbs Frankie Franchise and developed a great working relationship. We came on board to scale and grow Good Flippin’ Burgers as a National Brand.
It has been quite a ride since we opened our second outlet at the peak of the pandemic in September 2020 in Juhu, Mumbai. We have not looked back since. We started with the simple aim of creating a brand that serves great burgers that are priced right. As we grew our patrons, one delicious burger at a time, we attracted investors who loved our food and wanted to be a part of our growth journey. Our menu includes 12 burgers and 13 sides for vegetarians, non – vegetarians, and vegans alike. Our dine-in outlets also serve an entire coffee & shake menu as well. Good Flippin’ Burgers currently has 17 outlets in Mumbai and a Central Kitchen with a headcount of 100 and growing. Good Flippin’ Burgers has been building for scale from day one. With people, processes, products, and patrons as its key stakeholders.
Testimony of where we stand is that we are the highest-rated burger brand across platforms in the city, wherever our outlets exist. This includes both old and new burger entrants in the market.
- How do you look at the change in consumer behaviour and trend in the post-pandemic environment?
We started our delivery kitchen before the pandemic where we focused on giving the customer as close to dine-in experience with our packaging process and product choices, so we were able to scale during the pandemic, but we also knew that the human behaviour enjoying good food with great experience was never going to go away. Burgers as a delivery category got established during the pandemic and we capitalised on that. We took the bold move of opening a dine-in outlet during the peak of the pandemic. Amidst the tough situation of Covid-19, we were able to raise some funds and things started to normalise as people came back to dine in.
The percentage contribution to revenue is growing but it is nowhere compared to the dine-in market overall. So yes, things have sort of normalised as expected after the pandemic and burgers are now an accepted and thriving food delivery choice also.
- What is giving GOOD FLIPPIN’ BURGERS® an edge over its competitors?
This goes back to how we started, we aimed at building this brand from the scale of zero. People believe in patrons, but we believe that together it is always a winning combo. It’s the everyday grind to strive to be better, to be the most loved burger brand that gives us an edge over others. We at GOOD FLIPPIN’ BURGERS® always try to make a better burger and we aim to serve the best food – every day, everywhere with the same consistency, while sharing the same love and affection for our customers and employees.
- You have started as a delivery-only brand, but as we are witnessing a trend of dine-in gradually making a comeback, how are you looking at this change?
Currently, Dine-in contributes to 20% of our revenue and is growing double digits every month. Dine-in formats give our patrons a “fuller experience” of our brand and we firmly believe that dine-in is here to stay and grow. Dine-in also forms an integral part of our growth & brand strategy. In fact, during the peak of the pandemic – August 2021, we opened our first dine-in store in Bandra, Mumbai. Since then, we have launched 4 more dine-in stores. And Good Flippin’ Burgers is rapidly expanding across all metros.
- How are you planning for the brand campaign in terms of budget and ideas? Any new marketing initiatives?
Advocacy has been one of our strongest proponents in marketing our brand. Our spending made are mostly on digital platforms and is objective-based where we track set KPIs. To drive different objectives, we have set different KPIs. Presently, as the brand is foraying into new markets across different metros, we are focusing on increasing the overall brand awareness in new demographics while undergoing a rapid expansion. Our Brand & marketing strategy comprises a healthy mix of social media marketing, BTL events & Influencer Marketing focussing on promoting our products, increasing brand awareness, and also driving loyalty.
- How intense is the competition from the other food brands? What is the market share you are aiming at in your segment?
On seeing the success of the burger category, many more Burger brands have come up, we see this as a good thing as this helps in establishing the market and segmentation. The burger segment will be a 10,000-crore market in 5-7 years, growing at a CAGR of 17 to 18 % year on year. Good Flippin’ Burgers intends to be a significant player in this growth story.
- What are the plans for the next few years?
We are currently at 17 outlets across Mumbai & NCR. We will open 2 more outlets in September in the NCR region, which will also include our first mall format outlet at DLF Avenue (Saket). We will be on course to achieve and go beyond our target of 24 stores this financial year. Going forward, we plan to open 2.5 outlets a month across Mumbai, NCR, Pune & Bengaluru in cloud, dine-in, mall & airport formats.
- Any plan for Global expansion?
Our vision is to be India’s most loved burger brand first. But in the future, we will definitely love to spread love to other countries. Burger being one of the largest and most-accepted categories in the world always puts us in amazement. We are buoyed by the fact that many of our customers who have travelled the world have compared our brand as one of the best in the world.