Sohrab Sitaram, an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Aurangabad, who is currently the CEO and director of Keventers – the international brand of milkshakes – that has recently opened its two outlets in Goa, was in the state, last week. He speaks to Team B&C about Keventers, the original milkshakes; its arrival in Goa; and plans for expansion of the brand in the state, among other things
- Today, Keventers has become a popular milkshake brand in Goa. Where did it all start?
The journey of Keventers can be traced back to the Swedish dairy technologist, Edward Keventers, who had landed on the shores of India in 1889. It was in 1900s, that he had started the Aligarh Dairy Farm and built it into a profitable business. Keventers, in its present form, began in 1925, when it established the private label Dairy Products Company in Chanakyapuri, Delhi, soon becoming synonymous with quality dairy products. The ownership of the company changed hands in 1946, with Ram Krishna Dalmia taking over the reins. The brand survived in spite the British government handing over power to Indian administration in 1947. By 1960s, Keventers even began providing milk powder to the Indian Army. Malcha Marg, the main factory of Kaventers, however, had to be shut down during the 1970s due to the government’s reacquisition of the particular land and converting it into a diplomatic zone, with the 22 acres land having to be given away.
- What happened then? Did the brand shut the shop?
The Dalmias continued to own the Keventers brand, and those who had tasted their milkshakes remembered their name. Although there were many outlets running, with the main manufacturing unit having shut down, the management began to lose interest in the brand. And everything started going downhill. There were others using the brand name and continuing to sell, but the quality was not there. In 2015, myself with Agastya Dalmia and Aman Arora revived the brand to keep the legacy alive.
- And how did you managed to retain the quality of the Kaventers milkshakes?
Of course, when we re-launched the brand, we retained the original recipes as also created newer flavours. For retaining the original recipes, we even approached those who had worked previously in the Kaventers factories. It was a challenge to find those, who are still alive and get recipes from them. However we did that. Presently, there are 40 flavours in our range of milkshakes. Interestingly, most of our customers return for the same flavour of their choice. You can say, they have a flavour loyalty, and have developed affinity to the hero product. By the way, we have discontinued the Macadamia Mayhem flavour, which was the only flavour with egg in it. Lotus Biscoff flavour is popular with the youth world over and would soon be introduced in India.
- And how did you start marketing the product?
Younger folks began sharing pictures of the milkshake bottles on Instagram and other social media and that really helped with our marketing. In fact, Instagram is full of what people are doing with the bottles. Some are using them as flower vases, while others as lamp bottles.
- How’s the response for Keventers milkshakes in Goa?
Excellent! Our Panaji outlet is doing phenomenally well and revenue wise it is one of the top five outlets in the country. The Baga outlet is also doing well but you cannot compare it to the Panaji outlet. In fact, the customers are now saying that they want Keventers, instead of milkshakes.
- What are your plans for expansion of Keventers in Goa?
We have already opened two of our outlets in the state, one along the M G Road in Panaji, and another one in the Tito’s lane at Baga. We are looking for expansion in Goa by opening more outlets at places like Porvorim, Candolim, Calangute, Vagator, Margao, Colva and Vasco, besides in the malls and at the Dabolim Airport. Furthermore, to double our footfalls, we will go for the express model for our outlets.
- Are there any special attractions for Goa as far as Keventers milkshakes are concerned?
We have ordered special bottles for milkshakes sold in Goa. They are collectors’ items as they would not be available anywhere else in India. Our outlets in Nepal are serving alcoholic milkshakes, and we are now exploring the possibility of introducing them in Goa, subject to the related licensing. If this happens, then Goa will become the first place in the country to serve alcoholic milkshakes. Finally, we do not use plastic straws, but specially make paper straws displaying our concern towards the environment.