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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Mr Arjun and Mrs Swati Chugh, Directors at 7th Heaven

Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Arjun - My primary aim in life has always been to run a successful company of my own. Even while completing my degree in psychology, I knew I was headed in the direction of setting up a business, and thus, was always scoping out new ideas. By the end of my 3rd year, I knew I wanted to bring something new to the Indian F&B space. The sub-segment of desserts and bakeries piqued my interest the most, which led me to the decision of starting 7th Heaven. Most importantly, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of freshness in most bakery products, even in the bigger chains. Most dessert companies bake their products in advance and display them at their stores for hours or more, which leads to stale desserts ultimately reaching the customers. This was a gap in this industry that I wished to solve. That’s how I arrived at the idea of starting a bakery that promises quality & freshness. Once the very 1st 7th Heaven store had been established, we received a lot of positive feedback, which we mostly interpreted as key insights. For instance, the idea to turn this venture into a franchise came after several customers inquired if we follow the franchise model. We always wanted to be the go-to option for anybody who craved a freshly prepared cake or dessert and give them a plethora of new options to always choose from...a one-stop destination for all kinds of cravings. That’s how we came up with a menu spanning so many different kinds of desserts, as well as dishes and cuisines.

Great Companies: What are the various services provided by 7th Heaven?

Swati - As India’s largest and most well spread bakery chain, we sell pretty much every category of baked products one can think of. But we do so by adding some services and elements that customers can’t find at other places. That explains a statistic we are very proud of - every 6 seconds, someone in India enjoys a 7th Heaven product! We assemble our cake orders using fresh and high quality ingredients in 7 minutes, and let our customers watch the entire process. That’s 7th Heaven’s unique LIVE kitchen model, and over the years it’s allowed us to win the trust of countless customers across the country as they get to verify the quality of our desserts with their own eyes. We also offer same day delivery of customised cakes, another extremely convenient service that our customers love. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating a vast menu with over 300 SKUs, including different categories of food even beyond desserts, like Pan-Asian meals, Continental snacks, hot and cold beverages, Ice creams and gift solutions. We wanted to be loved by every kind of foodie, even those who don’t particularly enjoy sweet dishes. Every single month, we continue to update this menu with newer innovations based on the latest dessert trends. Another element that explains our large customer base is the perfect note of affordability. We wanted to stand apart from both expensive chains and cheaper ones that compromise on quality, by setting reasonable rates for our high-quality offerings. 7th Heaven also gives its franchise owners access to several perks, like continuous training, free mentoring, and standardised recipes with listed ingredients. Because of our easy-to-start franchise model, the 7th Heaven franchise network currently employees more than 1000 people directly, and indirectly.

Great Companies: What makes 7th Heaven different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Arjun - First and foremost, it has to be our LIVE kitchen. Personally, I am yet to come across another bakery chain that maintains this level of transparency. The kind of freshness you will always, without fail find in each of our baked goods has simply been unmatchable so far. Second, is our unique franchise model. It allows us to keep expanding as a business with every passing day, while giving inexperienced business enthusiasts the opportunity to run an entire bakery. Because everything has already been set in motion and all practices are standardized across our outlets, it's extremely easy for first-time franchise owners to set up shop and keep it running. This has enabled us to give back to society by generating employment on a massive scale! Third is our same-day delivery promise to customers. Because of this one USP, we’ve managed to become a part of so many last-minute celebrations throughout the country! Another thing as I’d mentioned earlier, was how extensive our menu is. While most competitor F&B chains are extremely specialised, in that they either dabble in desserts, or dinner, or breakfast….we do it all.

Any kind of hunger pang can be satisfied at 7th Heaven, whether that’s a sweet tooth craving or a big appetite for a yummy meal. Our menu not only consists of desserts, beverages, tid-bits and meals from different cuisines, it's also continuously updated. Our customers know that, which is why they're always excited to find out what the next new thing in store at 7th Heaven is!

Great Companies: What are the struggles & challenges you face?

Swati - In the process of expanding 7th Heaven’s business, we’ve had to grapple with a few challenges, particularly related to our franchise model. The bigger we get, the higher is the number of franchise stores under the 7th Heaven umbrella, which, in turn, increases the need for continuous standardisation. We want each of the 200-odd 7th Heaven stores in India to seamlessly deliver the same quality-driven experience to our customers, which makes it critical for us to standardise every single thing, starting from the recipes and the ingredients to the menu and the operations. We also have to ensure constant training and 24/7 support for all 7th Heaven staff members including the owners, chefs, and the servers. Support teams need to be available around the clock to resolve issues in any franchise store, quickly and efficiently. It’s taken a lot of dedication, hard work, and multiple rounds of trial and error to overcome these challenges, and institute an efficient system that functions well, and fulfills all of 7th Heaven’s franchise model needs!

Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for 7th Heaven?

Arjun - Currently we’re looking at aggressive expansion, both within and beyond India’s borders. Our total store tally in India is upwards of 200 across 75 cities, and we want to keep this number growing. We recently launched an outlet in Dubai, and are now scoping out other International territories. We want 7th Heaven to be present in multiple cities in every country of the globe. We want to move from being India’s largest bakery chain, to being the world's largest.

Great Companies: If you have one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Swati - Throughout my years of working as an entrepreneur, I’ve learned 3 rules that I always abide by, and would recommend to anybody just starting out. The first is to set clear, tangible goals. Vague objectives like “I want to be a great businessman” won’t fare as well as specific, measurable goals like “I want to own 2 stores by the end of this year”. The second is to never make excuses. Everybody has bad days and lazy moments, but what differentiates you from the crowd is how you deal with them. Excuses may put off the work and give you temporary respite, but they have a way of sneaking up on you. This brings me to my third mantra, always get the work done. I pride myself on being result-oriented and the kind of person who finishes what is required, no matter what else may be going on. I’d also like to add that resilience is a critical ability you will have to master if you want to become a successful business owner. No matter what you face, keep at it!



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