The food and beverage business is gaining prominence at multiplex chain Inox Leisure, which is eyeing revenues of Rs 800 crore from the business by March 2023, a 52% jump over Rs 525 crore in 2019-2020.
The company has expanded its menu from selling just popcorns and aerated drinks five years ago to full meals like rajma and chole chawal, and quick service restaurant offerings of pizza, pasta, burger and rolls, among others. Inox is also aiming to have its own outlets within food courts of malls to begin with, and come up with standalone cafes on the lines of Starbucks and Costa Coffee in the next few years.
“The ultimate aim is to shift the focus from ‘Now Showing’ movies to ‘Now Serving’, that is exactly why the company is now focused on F&B,” Dinesh Hariharan, vice president (food and beverages), Inox Leisure, told FE.
At present, Inox has a star hotel concept with Insignia, a cafe concept with Cafe Unwind and a QSR concept. The company is also into outdoor catering and special events and selling its F&B range through Swiggy and Zomato. “We have not left any of the hospitality functions or segments and touched upon everything,” Hariharan said.
With F&B being the fastest growing category, Inox is keen on exploiting it to the hilt. “This is one segment which will never go out of fashion which is why we focus on it. It is not just a top line generator, it has made substantial contribution to the bottom line as well,” he said.
Five years ago, sales of popcorn and cola, which was its only offering in the F&B space, constituted 80-85% of the business. This has now come down to 60%, with the rest being contributed by nachos, samosas, french fries, rolls, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, etc. Full meals have also started making gradual inroads into this contribution.
Currently, Inox is catering to 70 million people across the country per annum, and its numbers on F&B sales look robust. Inox sells 20 million cups of coffee, 13 million cups of Coca Cola and about 5 million samosas every year.
“We thought that when Inox has the capability and the infrastructure, then why not leverage it and make it a one-stop solution for movie goers, which was another trigger to expand our range of F&B,” Hariharan said.
The F&B business used to contribute 20-25% to the overall revenue of Inox, and now the cinema exhibitor is aiming to shift it to 28-35% of the overall business. “We have everything that is required to be a professional international F&B brand. We have strong team with F&B background where we curate recipes, SOPs and processes. We are spread across the country. We have best-in-class IT solutions, robust supply chain and logistics and great vendor-partner relationships…” said Hariharan.
Now, with ambitions to expand the F&B business further, Inox is looking at scaling up its segments, starting with Cafe Unwind. “Cafe Unwind is something which is low capital intensive, so we should be able to scale it up. While the plans are still under works, we are exploring options like being present in the food court of a mall to start with,” he said.