Haagen-Dazs, a super premium global ice cream brand, will open its first branded cafe in India in the capital next month. “We are setting up our first branded café in Delhi shortly, and as is the case in most global markets, the ice creams will be imported,” said Arindam Haldar, director at Haagen-Dazs, owned by General Mills of the US. The cafe will be opened in the first week of December at Select City Walk at Saket through a franchisee deal with RTC Restaurants, which runs restaurant chains Ruby Tuesday and Italian Sabarro in India. RTC is the exclusive franchisee rights holder for America’s most-loved super premium ice cream in India. “Depending on the response we get with the first Haagen-Dazs branded cafe, we would like to set up similar such cafes in the country,” said Gaurav Jain, director at RTC. Mr Haldar declined to comment on the brand’s expansion plan. A person close to the company’s plans said Haagen-Dazs could be setting up a combination of large-format cafes and smaller kiosks, with a national footprint of 30-40 such outlets over the next few years. As of now, the brand is available in limited select stores such as Sugar & Spice in Delhi, and Nature’s Basket in Mumbai, apart from few 5-star hotels. It sells ice cream bars, sorbets and frozen yogurt. Its existing prices range from Rs 185 for a 100-ml serving, to Rs 625 per 500-ml carton. The super-premium ice cream segment has not yet been tapped in India. In fact, Nestle, which owns the premium Movenpick ice cream brand globally, has not brought the brand to the country on account of the limited size of the category. But Haagen-Dazs is confident, after its grand success in China where it operates 80 stores across 20 cities to huge fanfare particularly among young professionals. When it debuted in China in 1996, the market there could have been similar to today’s India. Established by Polish immigrant couple Reuben and Rose Mattus back in 1961, Haagen-Dazs is today one of the largest super premium ice cream brands in the world. It’s the market leader in the US with about 45% share and is present in 54 other countries. Starting with only three flavours — vanilla, chocolate and coffee — the company opened its first retail store in Brooklyn, NY in 1976. Today, Haagen-Dazs produces ice cream, ice cream bars, ice cream cakes, sorbets and frozen yogurts. The $16-billion General Mills markets Pillsbury atta and Betty Crocker cake mixes in India, apart from Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Interestingly, Nestle subsidiary Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc, makes Haagen-Dazs ice creams in the US and Canada although the brand is owned by General Mills. Haagen-Dazs ice cream is kept at a temperature that is substantially lower than most ice creams in order to keep its intended firmness.