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All about milking opportunities: Keventers and its comeback journey

Keventers, a name that dates to 1925, is back again with milkshakes that leave a lingering smile, packaged in quaint glass bottles that are too adorable to leave behind

Roshni Nair | Mumbai | September 28, 2016


“After a late evening show, I and my wife were walking across the Nehru Place Epicura Food Court for a quick dinner. We suddenly saw this catchy new stall with these nostalgic milk bottles from a time long past. A placard said; ‘Take the bottle with you’. It was such a delight to see these clear glass bottles offering a range of milk shakes.”

This is the account of a colleague about the brand that caught their attention – Keventers.

If the name rings a bell then it is probably because it has a legacy of over nine decades. Edward Keventer, a Swedish dairy technologist, landed in India in the year 1889 and took over the Aligarh Dairy Farm in 1894. This was the foundation stone on which the fabled dairy brand Keventers was established.

It was in 1925 that the Swedish dairy technologist started his eponymous dairy company. In 1940, their plant in Delhi was acquired by Ram Krishna Dalmia. Keventers’ factory in Malcha Marg was shut down in the 1970s when the area became part of a diplomatic zone, which eventually led to the dissolution of the brand.

Fast forward to 2015 and Agastya Dalmia, grandson of Ram Krishna Dalmia, along with his partners Aman Arora and Shorab Sitaram, have resurrected the iconic brand in a new avatar.

Sohrab Sitaram Sohrab Sitaram

Speaking about the decision to revamp Keventers, Sohrab Sitaram, CEO/Director, Keventers, said, “We saw the brand had tremendous potential in the sense that there was no competition when it came to milkshakes. The business model itself was extremely scalable and could reach 1,000 outlets in all easily and this really excited us. We did an initial test run and saw that it was loved by everyone. A major reason behind the revamp was that Keventers held an extremely iconic and nostalgic value and it would be foolish to not tap it.”

The strategy for this re-launch was to give the brand a facelift.

“It had to go under a complete branding transformation in order to appeal to all demographics and age groups. Tongue-in-cheek humour that people appreciated along with being a point of conversation was an image we aspired to present Keventers. Old-world illustrations and modern creativity were combined to create the new Keventers. And then we made the bottle, the old-school glass bottle, the hero of the brand. It evolved into being used by the people to do fun things and became a collector’s item in itself. And finally we made the milkshake our core focus,” said Sitaram.

But the road was not devoid of challenges. Talking about the challenges the company had to face to set the milk bottle rolling, Sitaram said, “Keventers till then was a brand known and remembered by what is known as the Generation X or Gen-X. The challenge was to establish a brand presence and recall the value among the Gen-Y. Due to a lot of Western influences, whether Gen-Y would appreciate the iconic value of Keventers or not was honestly a concern.”

“The other challenge was getting a hold of the traditional recipes Keventers had. It was a challenge and tracking them down was a task. But we managed to find them ultimately,” he added.

Keventers opened its first outlet at Select Citywalk, South Delhi, and that marked the arrival of the brand new Keventers on the map.

Keventers has adopted the franchise model to expand the brand presence across India and simultaneously create a niche category vis-à- vis milkshakes. All new outlets of Keventers will be under a master franchise model wherein it has outsourced selling rights to one major market player and given it permission to open outlets in a specific city. The brand sold master franchisees pan India and in countries such as Kenya, United States and Nepal.

The company operates a premium Keventers model which costs it between Rs 20-23 lakh. It is also creating another express model that will cost about Rs 15-17 lakh. These models are the brand’s initiatives to ensure the franchisees get varied options to operate.

Elaborating on the marketing strategies, Sitaram said, “We were earlier focused on local marketing practices, mainly BTL. As we are growing exponentially, we will be focusing on a lot of ATL and BTL activities that will include national level tie-ups, print advertisements, radios spots, outdoor branding spaces and more BTL-related activities to promote the brand, especially in newer cities where Keventers did not have a footprint earlier.”

Keventers has set itself a wide target as far as the target audience goes. All parts of the country, whether it’s tier 1, 2 or 3, are in its radar. The current prices range from Rs 99 to Rs 200. The prices are expected to down to Rs 75 as the company is targeting a wider social class. The company is looking to open a total of 100 outlets by end of this year in India and several other countries.

So, are there any new flavours on offer?

“There has been a growing audience of healthy and sugar-free products. Hence, we have developed sugar-free shakes for those customers and are currently working on smoothies and other such products,” said Sitaram.

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