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For Indian veggies, KFC is not chicken

business Updated: Jul 12, 2011 23:23 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo
Himani Chandna Gurtoo
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Never mind the poultry. Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), is shedding its famous wings – literally, perhaps – as it aims for high growth in the Indian market after a decade of fumbling for growth.

On the menu in the place famous for its “finger licking good” chicken – which never really caught up in the spicy land of the tandoor – are items like a “Vegetable Zinger Burger” with a patty into it made of seven basic vegetables.

Or you can go for a variety of other “pure vegetarian” offerings strictly prepared from a separate cold storage, utensils, tongs and frying equipment. The items include corn-on-the-cob, veg strips and coleslaw salad.

“While we are thoroughly known for the non-vegetarian menu, one-third of the population in the country is vegetarian and we want to be able to cater to them. The recently launched vegetarian items are at par with its chicken counterpart,” Dhruv Kaul, director-marketing at KFC India, told Hindustan Times.

KFC is owned by Yum! Restaurants, a spin-off from PepsiCo that also runs eatery chains Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. While KFC entered India in Bangalore about 15 years ago its commercial run has been shaky with rivals like McDonald’s surging ahead.

Now, under the global leadership of Indian-born chief marketing officer Muktesh “Mickey” Pant, Yum! is turning a new leaf in India with leafy stuff.

The company says the response has been encouraging, with 100,000 Zinger burgers sold within 10 days of launch.

The new menu is being accompanied by an expansion plan. KFC plans to increase the number of its outlets across India to 500 from the current 114 by 2015 and employ 25,000 people, up from the current 5,000.

Binoo Wadhwa, HR director for Yum in India, said trained talent was hard to come by. The company has set up its own “Yum Academy” to train staff.