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Oberoi Hotels plans French-style café outlet Cou Cou pan-India

Cou Cou is the first-of-its-kind, stand-alone food and beverage eatery from the Oberoi Group.

November 25, 2021 / 03:32 PM IST
Vikram Oberoi.

Vikram Oberoi.

Oberoi Hotels and Resorts is looking to provide a pan-India platform for its newly launched French-style café Cou Cou on the lines of Starbucks Corporation, the American chain of coffeehouses.

The first such outlet, which was opened in October, debuted at the Jio World Drive at Bandra Kurla Complex. This is the first-of-its-kind, stand-alone food and beverage eatery from the Oberoi Group. Coucou, which in French means ‘Hello’ or ‘Hey there’, serves bakery items like bread and cakes, hand-made chocolates and ice creams to name a few.

The company has started with an owned outlet for the time being and will explore a franchise model at later stages of expansion.

Speaking to analysts, Vikram Oberoi, Managing Director and CEO of EIH, the flagship of the Oberoi Group, said, “We would like to wait and see how it (the first outlet) performs before expanding. It would be premature for me to give you a number (on expansion) but we would like to scale this and do it well. Just to give you a perspective, on cafes, Starbucks for example, is in 170 locations across the country. So, there is an opportunity and we won't be a Starbuck, let me also clarify that there is potential to scale Cou Cou.”

Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), the second largest hotel company in India, had also jumped the bandwagon with the Qmin, a culinary and food delivery platform. However, most Qmins operate from IHCL hotels. There are plans to have on-the-move food trucks as well. Recently IHCL brought under its fold Tata Cha, from Tata Consumer Products. Tata Cha is a quick-service restaurant chain operational in Bengaluru.

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Kallol Kundu, CFO, EIH added, “It’s a brand that looks forward to building affinity with the millennial and the next generation, and with everybody else. So, this really targets a segment of customers that are next-gen luxury, premium millennials, luxury loyalists, the modern executives and so on.”

EIH is looking at multiple other avenues of revenue generation like Cou Cou and the company will share details on them later this year. These initiatives come at a time when EIH is staring at a void stretching 24-36 months where no new hotel is expected to be added to the inventory.

With the exception of a 70-camp resort to be opened in the summer of 2022 at the Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai for which EIH will only get management fees, EIH does not have any large inventory addition planned for the next 2-3 years. Hotels in Bengaluru, Goa and in Madhya Pradesh won't be up before 2025.

“Our endeavour will be to scale up Cou Cou and also we are looking at some other opportunities, I can't discuss them now, but we are looking at even shorter-term initiatives that will drive top-line and bottom-line performance,” Oberoi added.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Nov 25, 2021 03:29 pm

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