Ferns N Petals, one of the pioneers in e-commerce in gifting, especially flowers and bouquets, realised the need for a dedicated division for cake as a category in early 2018.
After launching the specialised platform, there was no looking back for the company. According to Anil Sharma, the chief operating officer – franchising and retailing business of Ferns N Petals, the category now leads the gifting business of the FNP in terms of growth compared to their own “hero category” that is flowers.
FNP has a franchisee network of 160 stores pan-India for cakes. Considering the phenomenal demand for cake as a gifting category, the company has plans to grow the number of franchise networks to at least 500 stores by 2025. “We are working in that direction and hopefully we will reach that target. We see exponential growth opportunities in this category in India,” he said.
He said that the company had chosen the franchise model to ensure highest quality standards for consumer delight. Prior to that they used to depend on third party vendors to fulfil the cake demand. The franchisees are provided with the best quality dough, creams and garnishing as well as skilled chefs.
“Today, we have 12 central kitchens which service primarily the demand in the big metros of the country,” he said. Sharma said that they have a fine balance of 50:50 as far as metros v/s smaller cities in terms of franchisee footprint.
As far as reach is concerned, Sharma said that they are equipped to deliver cakes within 2 hours of placing the order in any part of the country with any kind of personalisation. All the FNP franchisee units are capable of personalisation of the offerings as per the requirements. “We have over 28 years of experience in the gifting business. That is our strength and it gives a lot of confidence and business assurance to our partners,” he said.
People are shying away from sweets and accepting cakes in a big way, Sharma said. A lot of special days are celebrated these days and cakes have become integral to these special celebrations. “We have started curating cakes for even national days like Independence day, Republic day, etc.” he said when asked about the evolving market trends.
As a brand, Sharma said that the company will be investing in three areas going forward. These include technology, branding and training in the order of priority, he said.
In order to enhance its market reach, FNP has recently partnered with Swiggy for the Bengaluru market. Sharma said that they are considering forging similar tie ups with food aggregators to other metro markets as well.