Chennai: Mumbai's famous 'vada pav' snack clearly has a fan-following in Tamil Nadu and fast-food company Goli Vada Pav is looking to establish 75 outlets in Chennai alone over a period of time to capitalise on the opportunity.

"Right now, we are talking to a few people (to establish stores) in Chennai. We have a kiosk at Express Avenue Mall, which has drawn an encouraging response, and are looking at having around 40 stores in Chennai in one or two years in the first phase," Goli Vada Pav Founder-CEO Venkatesh Iyer said.

The Mumbai-based company, which was established in 2004, proposes to open 150 stores in South India and have 500 stores pan-India in the next three to five years. This includes 75 stores in Chennai alone.
    
Iyer said the company would also offer its own variant of traditional South Indian snacks like 'bonda' and 'paruppu vada'. "The content we provide will be exclusive (to Tamil
Nadu)," he said.

With his roots in Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, Iyer set up his first Goli Vada Pav outlet in Mumbai with friend Shivadas  Menon, realising that the hectic lifestyles of today needed a place where food could be had on the move.

He said the success of a food joint is largely based on the quality of food. Some of the top hotels are successful because they are known for their quality food.

"Moreover, instead of campaigning, serving good quality foods helps people share it with their friends and relatives. Mostly it is through word-of-mouth," he said. Iyer said they would divide Chennai into four zones and expand the company's presence. Each 250 to 300-square foot store would be operated under a franchise model.

Supervisors would be appointed for each zone, while the pav and oil would be sourced from a local vendor. "We will shift other materials from Mumbai to Chennai. The main ingredient will be locally sourced," he said.

He claimed that all the products would be manufactured in a fully automated plant at Mumbai and the product would have a shelf life of up to 18 months.

On their marketing strategy for Tamil Nadu, he said it would be through point of sales and promotional campaigns. "Seventy per cent of the products, particularly in this business, sold are through word-of-mouth and because of their good taste and quality," he said.

As part of the expansion plans, the company will also increase its headcount from the existing 55 to 400 in five years' time.
 
Currently, Goli Vada Pav has stores in Nasik, Aurgangabad, Nagpur, Amritsar, Sholapur, Bhuvaneswa, Hubli and Dharward.

(Agencies)