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Milestones

Published on: July 30, 2020, 4:01 p.m.
Icing on the cake
  • Khorakiwala: healthy returns

By Devendra Mohan

Monginis Foods has a lot to celebrate this year, apart from its 100 years of selling cakes. The country’s number one cake brand is looking at establishing itself in at least 500 locations – from 440 both in India and overseas, and upping its sales revenues from Rs232 crore last year to Rs300 crore in the current year. The Mumbai-based privately held cake fiefdom of the Khorakiwalas has seen over fourfold increase in its revenue in the past eight years from Rs60 crore in 2001.

The company now markets both egg-based as well as eggless cakes, making it a preferred choice among vegetarians. In Indore city, Monginis has at least 10 stores where only eggless preparations are sold; as a result of which they deliver about 50 per cent of the company’s total revenues.

Until eight or nine years ago, Monginis wanted to be everything to everyone, and was even thinking of diversifying into ice creams and patties. This would have led to loss of focus in the longer run. Quick on the uptake, the Khorakiwalas decided to seek marketing guidance to enhance its presence and, despite its small turnover in those days, paid a marketing consultancy. It reaped the benefits.

 “The Cake Shops concept instead of Treat Shops concept has done wonders for the company,” says a marketing consultant. Jagdeep Kapoor, MD, Samsika Marketing Consultants, had, at the time, advised the company to focus on cakes instead of diversifying into too many things. “Monginis must mean one thing for the consumer – cakes,” said Kapoor.

“And that strategy worked,” admits 57-year-old Zoher Khorakiwala, CMD, Monginis Foods Private Limited. The company has 180 shops and 125 strategic business units (SBUs) in Mumbai alone, which receive fresh supplies from factories at Bhandup and Thane. These shops, on a daily average, have a footfall of over 20,000 customers.

The company owns manufacturing units at Mumbai, Thane, Surat and Hyderabad. To increase its pan-India presence it has, along with some local partners, set up full-scale manufacturing units in Kolkata, Pune, Nashik, Goa, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Bhubaneswar in Orissa. These units play a huge part in making the brand’s presence visible in a number of states.

The company hasn’t forayed much into the northern and southern parts of the country, mainly due to the high rentals in the north and a bit of a conservative market in the south. “However, we sell a lot of packaged goods in the north with a high shelf life,” says Khorakiwala. “The Hyderabad factory takes care of the sales in the south and the returns are very healthy,” he adds.

Not only in India

Two decades ago, Monginis forayed into the North African markets by setting up a factory in Cairo. There it runs 20 cake and sweetmeat shops and parcels out packaged cakes to neighbours such as Libya and Sudan. The only difference is that the Cairo factory, along with cakes and pastries, also caters to the local taste buds with mithai, which is a typical concoction of some desi and some Egyptian ingredients and flavours.

 “This constituted about 25 per cent of the sales,” Khorakiwala says, “of the Rs60 crore sales in Cairo last year.” The Cairo business continues to grow by 18-20 per cent each year as in India. The Monginis brand also caters to the UK with limited varieties of packaged foods such as khari and rusk toasts and is now looking at expanding to other European countries.

Started as a catering service in Mumbai’s Fort area in the early 20th century by the Monginis, two Italian brothers, for the city’s pre-Independence European population, it was acquired in the 1960s by the Khorakiwala family, which also ran the popular Akbarally’s departmental stores in Mumbai and became Monginis Foods Limited. In 1971, the company adopted the franchise model, with a stated emphasis on localised production for local tastes and thus began its growth.

While the company continues to increase its own chain of shops, it also has a large number of institutional franchisees such as the Indian Railways, malls and call centres. Products are also sold to Pantaloon, the Aditya Birla group, Wipro, Citi Group Services, TCS, hospitals and many more.

Run by the brothers Zoher and Kumail Khorakiwala, Monginis is now looking at the healthcare segment as well. It has started marketing sugar and salt-free products as well. “This segment has been growing fast the last few years,” says Kumail, the joint managing director, “generating 5 per cent revenue of our total turnover.” But the company is going to sweeten up its presence with a slew of multi-flavoured chocolates and cookies soon. “These will be moderately priced and absolutely affordable,” says Zoher.

In the packaged cakes segment, which has a shelf life of 30 to 60 days, Monginis commands an almost 30 per cent market share, though Britannia gives it some competition. “With the launch of chocolates and cookies with a 90-day shelf life,” says Shanta Ketkar, a Monginis Cake Shop franchisee, “we expect our turnover to double or even triple in the next two years.”

(This is reproduced from Business India magazine. It was first published in our issue dated November 15, 2009)

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