With the Indian economy booming like never before, western fast food retailers have managed to make quite an impact in India in the short span of just a couple of decades that they have had a presence in the country. Along with many other lifestyle products, there has been a rapid growth in the country’s fast food and restaurant business and a huge transformation in the way people are eating out today.
A Changing Palate
The transformational change in the fast food industry in India has been catalyzed by a number of factors. With the economy on a roll and more people becoming employed there has been a considerable increase in the disposable income that is getting funneled into purchases of lifestyle products and services. On top of that, India has one of the world’s most favorable demographics, thanks to the 1.2 billion plus population in the age group of 10-24 who are extremely adaptable and susceptible to lifestyle changes. Another prime reason behind the boom in western concepts of fast food is the exposure customers are getting to western cuisine and lifestyles through cable and satellite television that is very much a part of the landscape of urban India. With more and more double income and nuclear families, fast food has become a convenient alternative to laboring in the kitchen.
Customers Have It Good Due To Intense Competition
The fast food culture has been greatly helped by the fast changing lifestyle sector that had seen the emergence of a booming mall and supermarket shopping destinations. Mall managements actively seek out fast food brands to set up shops in their malls as these are a very good way of attracting traffic with the right demographics.
While chains like KFC were accepted more naturally because their menu was chicken-oriented, McDonald’s, on the other hand, had to make a rare exception in the country by dropping all beef-based items from the menu to cater to local sensitivities. Without exception, all players have ensured that their offers are spicier in keeping with Indian preferences and that the menu has a large selection of vegetarian items. One can easily spot the effort that the company is taking to cater to regional preferences by scanning through the various McDonald’s offers.
A Large Playing Field for the American Fast Food Majors
Globalization has had a significant effect on the eating habits of a nation that had built up a culture of eating fresh home-cooked food. A significant part of the population, especially the relatively affluent and young are making eating out a part of their lifestyle. This is a great opportunity for organized players in the fast food sector to spread their wings far and wide and grab their target audiences. The last few years have seen a rapid expansion of well-known fast food names such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos, etc. investing very large sums of money to get a larger slice of what is arguably the most lucrative market in the world.
Almost all the big names in the American market are betting very big on India, and opening up restaurant now even in tier-2 towns in a bid to lure customers to their tables before the competition gets to them. As of now, with a population of less than 3,000 quick service restaurants belonging to the organized retail chains, there is very little danger that they would be treading on each other’s toes in a country as large as India. A mammoth part of the Indian population is still frequenting roadside eateries, stalls, and dhabas that serve traditional Indian fare. With the branded QSRs slowly but surely penetrating into the cities and towns, a large number of these customers are expected to sample the American delights.
Author bio: Andrew Thompson has been monitoring the fast food sector in developing countries for close to two decades. A trained chef, he has also consulted with a number of fast food chains for customizing menus, including that available on https://www.mcdelivery.co.in/.