Inspired by the memories of little patisseries in France, Kainaz Messman started Theobroma after having worked as a pastry chef with the Oberoi group of hotels. It has now evolved into a full-fledged patisserie & bakery chain spanning Mumbai, Delhi NCR, and Pune.
The chain has a central kitchen based model. While the majority of products sold are manufactured and packaged in the central kitchen itself, the cafe and the express formats offer certain menu items which are manufactured at the central kitchen but assembled at the store.
In conversation with Nihal Harchandrai, Head of Finance and Strategic Initiatives at Theobroma:
Theobroma is a part of fond memories of countless Indians. Tell us about your journey and your first patisserie in Mumbai.
When we started our first patisserie at Colaba in 2004, we did not know what to expect. We didn’t know if we would be able to recover the costs of starting our business or whether we would have been able to fill up the four small tables. All that we were doing was making things which we loved to eat. Yes, we did hope to do well but we didn’t predict or dared to hope for the success of our brand and the love we have received from our guests.
What were the challenges faced by Theobroma prior to Torqus? How did Torqus help them overcome those challenges?
Our legacy systems didn’t capture our sales and inventory in real time. With real-time and robust POS system and a top-notch inventory management system, Torqus made our daily operations a cake-walk. With Torqus, I am able to monitor the sales and performance of all my outlets from anywhere.
How do you procure and manage the raw materials for your vast menu while ensuring minimal wastages?
We feel it is important to use the right raw materials in exact portions to create a world-class taste. For instance, we seek out real and high-quality chocolates instead of compounds made with vegetable fat. With over 1000 raw materials building up our menu, managing a high number of raw materials on a daily basis is crucial. Thanks to Torqus, we are able to manage all stock movements in real time. Moreover, Torqus helps us map our standard recipes in order to track any deviations in preparations and reduce wastages.
For example, if I have to deliver 20 kgs of brownies or chocolates for an event two days later, I can just pin it for that day on Torqus and the rest of my operations can align accordingly when the day starts. It’s no wonder that Torqus has single-handedly helped us reduce our wastages substantially. As a result, we aim to increase our profit margins by 25% and reduce our wastages by 50% over the next 2 years with Torqus.
How do you manage bulk purchases?
With multiple outlets and different requirements, order management had become a little difficult for our central kitchens. However, after implementing Torqus Supply Chain Management, it became really easy for us with their External Master PO feature which amalgamates POs received from outlets and converts these into separate POs specific to external vendors.
Considering the fact that there are a lot of perishable items in the bakery industry, how do you manage to ensure that the customer gets only fresh products every time?
Every day, we aim to sell fresh food items to our 35+ outlets across various cities in India. We are proud of the fact that our products have a short shelf life as we add no chemicals or preservatives. There is indeed a lot of loss and a lot of wastage if your products do not sell.On that note, Torqus gave us the convenience to record each and every incoming raw material according to the expiry date helping us push our raw materials on First In, First Out basis.