Burger King expansion leads to B'luru foray

A vegeterian menu, dished in India, is a global first

Burger King expansion leads to B'luru foray

Burger King, the American burger specialist and quick service restaurant (QSR) giant, is enthusiastic about robust growth in India, propelled by a strong strategy involving an India-specific menu, and push into several regional markets.

Burger King came to India in November last year, opening its first restaurant in Delhi. In the last seven months, the company has opened 18 restaurants, primarily across Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh.

“Now we are looking south. The coming Saturday (June 27), we will be opening our first restaurant in South India, with an outlet in Phoenix Market City, Bengaluru. Over the next two months, we will open another six restaurants in the city. Bengaluru carries a lot of growth potential for the segment in which we operate, thanks to the young and expat population,” Burger King India Chief Executive Officer Raj Varman told Deccan Herald.

Burger King India — a joint venture between the global Burger King and Everstone Capital — is the master franchisee for the company in India.

Varman hinted that the company is eyeing all markets, including tier-II and tier-III cities, however, stating that as a young player, it is too early for Burger King to reveal anything specific.

“India is a global country. The dual-income nature of today’s urban Indian families has prompted a strong eating-out culture, thanks to disposable income, time, and awareness. The moment is opportune for QSRs to boom, and we are gearing up for the good times,” Varman said.

The food market in India is pegged at around $100 billion, growing at a cumulative 11 per cent, and will touch $250 billion in the next five years. Of the $100-billion food market, the QSR segment is valued at $15 billion at present. The QSR market in India is expected to touch $50 billion in five years. “The organised part of the QSR business is worth just $1 billion now, but we see that it will gradually hit a topline of $6 billion, growing at 27 per cent,” he said, adding, “A third of the growth in the organised QSR space comes from increase in same store sales, while the remaining is derived from new players, and existing ones in new markets.”

Burger King India’s strategy includes rolling out its flagship restaurant formats (2,000-4,000 sq feet) across malls, standalone outlets, and food courts. The investment for each will vary between Rs 1.75 crore and Rs 2.5 crore, depending on size and location.

Burger King is bullish on an India-specific product spread, even as burgers take centre-stage. “We see burgers competing with other foods. The delectable sandwiches occupy only two per cent of the total QSR business here, but will soon hold six per cent, as burgers become more popular and affordable,” Varman said.

Its India menu consists of seven non-vegetarian burgers, and for the first time in the world, six vegetarian burgers (even in its flagship product — Whopper). Besides, products such as its Cravers and Fries range, and cooking techniques such as flame-grilling, are claimed as differentiators. The company is also planning a breakfast menu. “Our aim is to offer affordable, wholesome meals, which will be constantly innovated. Our burgers are priced starting at Rs 35, and our growth is also attributed to a reliable and localised supply chain,” Varman said.

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