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Food chains to fight it out

India is poised to be the next major battleground for multinational fast food chains after China, as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell duke it out for customer loyalty in a country. Where the median age is 25 and disposable incomes are extending the reach of people’s pocketbooks, says a new market research report.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2011 01:08 IST
McDonald’s,KFC,Pizza Hut

The report prepared by Euromonitor, an independent market research group, focuses primarily on Yum! Brands and the potential of their growth in a country that has experienced meteoric growth over the last decade.

Yum! Brands is the world’s largest restaurant company with 38,000 locations in 110 countries and includes chains like KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

foodIn 2010, the company had 279 outlets in India, but expects to expand to 1,000 locations by 2015. With a trio of brands that can easily adapt to Indian palates, Yum! is well positioned to establish a strong presence in the country, the report points out.

KFC, for instance, is a natural fit as chicken is the dominant protein in a country where the cow is sacred.

Pizza Hut has likewise been able to easily reinterpret its menu and offer vegetarian options, or include local, regionalised toppings like paneer.

And recently, the company opened its first Taco Bell outpost in India, as the spicy Mexican-style fare is expected to align well with the Indian taste for spicy, bold flavours, the report says.

After achieving market dominance in China where it boasts 4,000 outlets, the Texas-based Yum! Brands is hoping for a repeat performance in India, given its young demographic, growing middle class, and the rapid expansion of people’s disposable incomes.

When it comes to overall value, however, McDonald’s still outranks Yum! Brands. The chain also offers localised menu items that cater to Indian palates like spicy paneer wraps, fish burgers and chicken versions of the Big Macs called the Maharaja burger.

KFC also faces stiff competition from its main rival Republic of Chicken, while Domino’s Pizza is Pizza Hut’s chief rival.

First Published: Dec 24, 2011 18:59 IST