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Tiffinbites Fast Food Franchise: Case Study

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 12 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Business Case Study Franchise Franchisor

Launched in 2003, Tiffinbites offers authentic Indian food served traditionally. At the moment the business has four restaurants in London. In addition to the customer facing restaurants that are the public face of the company, Tiffinbites also have a thriving wholesale operation that caters for over 300 businesses in the blue chip sector right across the UK.

What is the Tiffinbite Franchise?

The concept is based around what the business calls the ‘tiffinbox’. This is a metal container that has been used traditionally to transport cooked food across many cities in India. If you visit Mumbai you will see thousands of tiffinboxes moving through the city to deliver hot meals to workers. The tiffinboxes are transported by what are called ‘tiffin-wallahs’. The wives of office workers prepare hot meals at home, with the tiffin-wallahs providing the delivery service. The network is vast with some 4,000 tiffin-wallahs collecting 160,000 home-prepared meals across Bombay alone.

Jamal Hirani - the founder of the Tiffinbites franchise became disillusioned with the available ‘fast food’ that office workers in the UK could access. Pasta, sandwiches and pizzas had become the mainstay. But Jamal fantasised about the home-cooked meals his mother had prepared for him. Why couldn’t he access food of this quality while he was at work? The idea wouldn’t go away, so Jamal decided to do something about it.

Indian food has become Britain’s most popular dishes. Jamal began with his restaurant chain that brings authentic Indian food to the high street.

Seeing how the concept of tiffinboxes could be applied in London, anyone can now order meals directly from the Tiffinbites website. At the moment delivery is within central London, but Jamal has great ambitions to expand the concept across the UK.

Recognition and Awards

Jamal was named one of the most influential people in London in the Evening Standard award 2008. In a ceremony that took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Jamal received recognition as an innovative service provider across London. Over 250,000 people are now using the tiffinbox service every week.

Jamal commented at the event: “It’s a great sign for any business when it is recognised in the form of an award, and we’re all thoroughly delighted. We look forward to sharing the news of the award with our customers and will be striving to continue to do what we do best, which is delivering the very best quality Indian food on the high street.”

Q&A with Tiffinbites’ Founder and CEO Jamal Hirani
Q: Do you think that all businesses can be turned into franchise platforms?
A: Firstly, the business needs to be in a stable - ideally expanding - market that offers a real market opportunity. For example, in the case of Tiffinbites, despite the current economic climate, the casual dining market is still blooming. Our footfall has increased by 25% in the last two months, which has obviously helped recruiting franchisees.

Q: From a franchisors point of view, what do you think is the most important aspect of developing a franchised business?
A: At Tiffinbites we have developed a business model which can be replicated in other geographical areas. Our franchising programme isn't only for the UK, we are currently negotiating with people in Dubai.

Q: The franchisees point of view, they want to buy into a successful business. Are there any components of your enterprise that are particularly important to the success of your franchises?
A: A good brand or corporate identity, which can be protected via trademark is key. Our brand is one of our biggest assets and our franchisees will get comprehensive Marketing and PR plans developed by head office to ensure brand consistency.

Q: What other factors are important to the success of the franchisee/franchisor partnership?
A: It is very important for the parent company to be financially secure as it needs to have funds to invest in the initial development of the franchise system. Then, there should also be sufficient outlet profitability to split between franchisor and franchisee and the offer should be attractive to both parties involved

Q: Do you think that how a franchise is managed can be vital to its long term success?
A: At Tiffinbites we believe that it is important for the business owners/principals to have a management style that is suited for franchising. We have a tough recruitment process and make sure all profiles are in line with certain criteria. One of the criteria for example is for the franchisee to recognise the need to take on professional advice with regards to franchising such as consultants and solicitors. We work with The Franchising Company who are very experienced, cost effective and affiliated with the British Franchise Association.

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