US fast-food giant Burger King may be late to India’s fast food scene, but it still sees a big opportunity here, so much so that it feels the operations could in future become the largest in Asia along with China.
The company, which has a tie-up with Everstone Group to develop the business here, opened its first outlet in Delhi earlier this month, and its second outlet will open in Mumbai on Saturday. “For now, the plan is to open 12 outlets (6 each in Delhi and Mumbai) over the next 2-3 of months, study customer response and then make bigger expansion plans,” Raj Varman, CEO, Burger King India, said. The company has planned investment of Rs 2-2.50 crore in each outlet.
“Disposable incomes are rising and we saw that the burger quick service restaurants were just 2% of the entire market, so the opportunity is immense…For me it is about perfecting what we have launched over the next 90 days. Once that is done, it will open its own opportunities and markets,” he said.
The company will, however, face stiff competition in the Indian market. Its biggest rival McDonald’s came to India almost two decades ago and already has over 300 outlets here. KFC also has over 300 outlets here and plans to scale up to 500 by 2015.
Varman said that Burger King has already built a strong base, having studied the market for 3-4 months and has also tweaked the menu according to local popular cuisines.
Apart from Burger King, premium burger outlet Carl’s Jr. and world’s third largest burger chain, Wendy’s, also have plans to set shop in India.