We all are aware of the birth of a chicken from an egg. But, how about the birth of an innovative business idea from an egg!! That’s exactly what has been made possible by Mr. Shastri, Founder Director of Yolkshire Food and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.
When Mr. Vinod Shastri met Mr. Datta Deshpande – founder and chairman of Pratham Technologies Pvt. Ltd. with his idea of an Egg Speciality Restaurant about a couple of years back, they were still uncertain about what they were getting into. All they knew was that, they had to make their idea grow into a reality restaurant.
Read through to unfold the brief yet challenging story behind the establishment of Yolkshire Food and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.
About the Founders
Vinod Shastri, Founder Director – A Business/Service student from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Mulshi, Mr. Vinod Shastri is the brain behind Yolkshire Food and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. If it had not been for his innovative idea of an exclusive egg speciality restaurant, “Yolkshire” would not have emerged as one of the most popular names today in the likes of metros Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangaluru.
Varad Deshpande, Founder & CEO – A young, energetic & passionate business student pursuing BBA third year from BMCC, Mr. Varad Deshpande has truly been instrumental in steering Yolkshire clear of its initial challenges. If it had not been for the effective & potential business plan developed & presented by Varad, it would not have been easy for Yolkshire to achieve financial aid approval from the Bank of India. Not only this, Varad also took it upon himself to have the interiors of the restaurant done at the earliest. He also extended his support to Mr. Makarand Kulkarni in finding suppliers for kitchen furniture & equipments.
Mr. Makarand Kulkarni, Founder Director – With an extensive experience in business & catering, Mr. Makarand today is one of the strong supporting pillars of Yolkshire. He has especially been instrumental in purchasing crockery and kitchen equipments. Makarand is also the one to have introduced his close friend Mr. Akshay Puranik to Yolkshire. Akshay has had a significant role in initiating restaurant activities, recruiting people, etc.
Supporting Directors of Yolkshire Food and Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.
Sahil Khan, Director Publicity – Being a start-up business, branding was an important necessity for Yolkshire. Sahil Khan along with Kundan Ruikar took care of the branding part including factors like, company tag line, logo, colour combination, etc. Sahil is also the creator behind the tagline “My eggular hangout”. He used his networking effectively for Yolkshire brand to be recognized in & around Pune. In this initial struggle, he sought valuable support from Radio Mirchi & the local newspapers & magazines.
Inspite of all the initial challenges like marketing, location, finance, etc, the real challenge to make all these struggles worthy was to ensure Growth. At such a critical time, two young & dynamic directors took hold of the reigns of Yolkshire.
Bhargav Deo, Director Operation & Rahul Datye, Director Marketing – With a passion for Food & Hospitality Business, this highly professional duo within their 3 months of joining the company, already had the sales of Yolkshire up by more than 25%.
Innovative Marketing & Branding Strategies Initiated
Yolkshire since its inception in 2010 has been a loyal partner with Radio Mirchi in their weekly ‘Tikhat (Spicy) Thursday’, where free food vouchers are distributed to their respondents. In an attempt to create goodwill amongst well-wishers & acknowledge their wishes, special personalized ‘Well-Wisher Cards’ were issued, whereby select people irrespective of the number of visits, can claim discounts on permanent basis.
Not to be left behind are the nearby companies like, e-Zest Solutions, Walchand Industries, Persistent Systems, Seed Infotech, etc, where Yolkshire offers corporate discounts to employees.
Other innovative initiatives on part of Yolkshire include, breakfast meet-ups titled ‘Eggups’, which received a good response.
Use of Social Media for Marketing Products & Services
Nearly all of the marketing initiatives of Yolkshire are free of cost except for few mandatory marketing tools like, banners outside the restaurant and a couple of ‘just-cannot-refuse’ sponsorships.
The marketing & branding strategy of Yolkshire is mainly centred around the use of social media. An important marketing strategy for Yolkshire has been to create a Facebook profile, for achieving quick milestones in terms of its fan following.
Yolkshire takes immense pride in its unique distinction of being the second of its kind restaurants in Pune to have introduced the Foursquare platform. Varying rewards for the Mayor of Foursquare are announced ranging from free coffee to free wi-fi access for every visit till the customer is the Mayor.
Yolkshire also has its active social profiles in sites like, Twitter & listings on zomato.com, askme.com, Just Dial & other such sites.
Platform Instrumental in Brand Promotion
Of all the promotional platforms worked upon by Yolkshire, Facebook has been a hands-down winner. In fact, the online presence of Yolkshire has been more rewarding on Facebook than on its still-to-be-developed website. The 3 innovative & highly rewarding initiatives on part of Yolkshire on Facebook have been:
- A quick personalized message from one of the founders to all those who ‘Liked’ Yolkshire, thanking them and seeking their suggestions for improvement.
- A ‘Fan of the Day’ campaign, wherein fans were randomly chosen & their names announced for a 10% discount on immediate next bill, that too irrespective of number of friends they bought along.
- A special birthday discount of 15% announced on Facebook for fans.
Below The Line (BTL) Marketing Initiatives
Yolkshire has all along relied heavily on Below The Line marketing. The 5 significant BTL initiatives by Yolkshire include:
- Well-wisher discount cards
- Personal text message updates to people in its phonebooks
- Personalized emails to the address book contacts on every Yolkshire update – from addition to the menu to incorporation of a company
- Corporate discounts
- Personalised targeted messages to Facebook fans
Most Successful Brand Strategy
The most successful brand strategy for Yolkshire has been the leveraging of Facebook platform, which has made it possible for them to have over 1500 Fcebook fans with just one outlet today. Leave apart the actual fans that the restaurant has.
Yolkshire takes pride in achieving all its Facebook targets, the latest being to reach 1600 fans by year end with just 10 shy of it & almost a month still to spare. Yolkshire plans to re-introduce its fan-of-the-day concept, which had initially helped shoot up daily active users from 40 to 300+ users.
Lessons from Marketing & Branding Struggle
The unexpected & commendable success of Yolkshire on Facebook has helped the team realize the importance of being transparent, responsive & ethical. Yolkshire has strictly kept away from deleting negative posts or planting positive ones. It is this transparency & the readiness to accept the good, bad & ugly that has been catalytic in making Yolkshire popular amongst the young & old.
Challenges Faced for Having a Social Media Based Strategy
With an entirely social media based strategy, the chances of negative feedback spreading instantly were high, especially on platforms like Twitter & Facebook. However, the transparency of Yolkshire has been significant tool in this respect.
Another major challenge is responsiveness, where there is a need for someone to be online all the time for responding quickly to both bouquets and brickbats.
The biggest flip side of media-based marketing is that at times, demand fails to match availability.
However, the passionate & determined team of professionals at Yolkshire are ever ready to take these challenges Head On!
What Gives Yolkshire an Edge Over Competitors?
The sole fact that Yolkshire is a one-of-its kind restaurant in Pune, eliminates any direct competition with others in that space. Thus, what has truly helped Yolkshire get an edge over its competitors is its quick response, determination & brutal transparency. Not to forget are the weekly contests that the restaurant holds to keep the fans engaged on Facebook. In addition, the fact that Yolkshire takes care to keep all its posts visible on Facebook including the user comments & wall posts, is what accelerates its popularity.
Upcoming Plans of Yolkshire
While there won’t be any new brand launches, Yorlkshire fans can definitely look forward to some new outlets in Pune in 2012.
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