McDonald's gets youthful
It was the "family place" to go to since quick service restaurant chain McDonald's entered India. Children were a very important part of its target audience, with a lot of its advertising and menu especially targeting them.business Updated: Oct 02, 2011 22:41 IST
It was the "family place" to go to since quick service restaurant chain McDonald's entered India. Children were a very important part of its target audience, with a lot of its advertising and menu especially targeting them.
But now McDonald's is firmly talking about youth being its primary target consumers. Its advertising, new outlet interior designs and additions to the menu are all firmly targeted at the youth, though the outlets still have that defined family section.
Both Amit Jatia, vice chairman, Hardcastle Restaurants, the franchisee that looks after the McDonald's business in the west and south markets in India, and Vikram Bakshi, MD and joint venture partner, McDonald's India -north and east markets - are in complete agreement that youth is the most important consumer segment for McDonald's in India today.
"In fact, we are in the process of re-imaging our restaurants to connect the brand with the youth segment, which is being done in phases. We are making the restaurants contemporary and relevant to the needs and sensibilities of the youth. Menu innovation is another area where we are focusing to introduce products and flavours relevant to this segment," said Bakshi.
Jatia said: "The introduction of the spicy range of McDonald's offerings was specifically for the young adult target group. Our continuous efforts to keep our foods affordable and adding more filling fare is also because we are targeting youth. Our international McFlurry's dessert range, our expanding menu, breakfast on the go, are all directed at being relevant to the current market place, where youth has a predominant presence in India."
Although one part of the business remains a joint venture (north and east) and the other has now become a franchise (Hardcastle, west and south), both companies in India have a common national marketing board that takes common marketing and advertising decisions at a national level. Regional marketing, however, varies for both companies that each have their regional marketing teams in place.
"As our latest endeavour to engage the youth, we are about to unleash an 'augmented reality' initiative to promote McDonald's," Bakshi said.
This initiative will see interactive digital imaging on the internet and mobile media, as well as at McDonald's outlets, though McDonald's is not willing to reveal much more about it yet.
Jatia said that by 2014, McDonald's would have 450-500 outlets across India. By December, Hardcastle will have 130 outlets, while McDonald's India (north and east) currently has 100 outlets. Both are expanding aggressively.