- More than a quarter of the menus of top QSRs like Pizza Hut, Dominos, Subway, McDonald’s and KFC are ‘Indianized’.
- Domino’s Pizza, Subway, McDonald’s and Burger King cater to Indian palates, says a report from Sharekhan.
- The Indian QSR market is expected to grow by 23% over the next three years, Sharekhan says.
In recent decades, Indians have changed Chinese food and spices in such a way that Indo-Chinese has become a cuisine in its own right. A similar transformation is underway in Americanized fast foods such as burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. This time around, however, the change is more organized as it is powered by quick service restaurants or QSRs – rather than dhabas and peddlers, who had started the Indochinese food revolution.
According to a report from Sharekhan, more than a quarter of the menus of top QSRs such as Pizza Hut, Dominos, Subway, McDonald’s and KFC are “Indians.” Of these, the most Indian menu is offered by Burger King – with over 40% of its offerings including vegetarian makhani burst burgers and aloo tikki burgers.
KFC’s biryani bucket combos with chicken legs with spiced gravy and flavored rice are an Indian alternative to the popular international combo – striped rice.
“Major international brands such as Domino’s Pizza, Subway, McDonald’s and Burger King have included a wide range of products in their menus designed to appeal to the Indian palate. These offerings respond to changing customer preferences and thus increase overall demand,” the Sharekhan report said.
Who moved my cheese – no paneer
Many of these American food chains’ menu changes are aimed at the vegetarians – with paneer being the most popular option. The next most popular addition is the tandoor versions that are added to pizzas, burgers and even subs and salads – which is done in vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus.
Then there are the spicier versions offered by McDonald’s, which also introduced a chatpata spice mix, much like the peri peri mix. In addition to pastas, tikkas and tikkis have also found their way onto menus.
However, a few shops are also trying to mix other international menus with Indian options such as Mexican aloo tikki – geared towards the Indian love of mixing spices and palates.
|Brand||% of Indian menu||Examples of Indian Articles|
|Dominoes||24%||Kadhai paneer pizza, Achaari do pyaaza pizza, Tikka masala pasta, Peppy paneer|
|Subway||34%||Tandoori tofu sub, Aloo patty sub, Chatpata chana sub, Hara bhara sub|
|pizza hut||25%||Pizza with tandoori mushrooms, Pizza with spiced paneer, Pizza with classic paneer|
|McDonald’s||34%||Chicken kebab burger, Masala wedges, Mexican Aloo Tikki burger|
|burger king||42%||Veg makhani burst burger, Tikki twist burger, Chicken Makhani burger|
|KFC||31%||Classic Chicken Biryani Buckets; Combinations with Hyderabadi biryani and gravy|
Data source: Sharekhan
Value, localization – the mantras in the hinterland
Menu localization is one of the growth themes that Indian QSRs, largely dominated by US brands, are pursuing. The Indian QSR market is expected to grow by 23% over the next three years, driven by the post-pandemic increase in orders through aggregator platforms such as Zomato and Swiggy.
“In the post-Covid era, a major shift to branded products, increasing order frequency on delivery platforms and strong traction for high-value products offer great opportunities for QSR players to rapidly expand their penetration in the Indian market,” the Sharekhan statement said. report.
The report also identified good spots in tier II, tier III and even tier IV cities where menu localization will help capture more market share, along with providing value options for the budget-conscious young customers.
Now that customers have become accustomed to having food delivered to their homes at the touch of a button, at any time of the day, convenience has become key and is contributing to the growth of delivery, the report said. It is already shifting from occasion-based orders to regular orders, the report added.
However, in order to compete with the large ecosystem or with disorganized players such as local restaurants and food chains offering all the possibilities, QSRs have to work harder for their market share.
“The discerning nature of Indian customers is driving QSRs to introduce products beyond the basics,” the Sharekhan report said.
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