According to sources quoted by Live Mint, the American burger chain plans to open 12 outlets in the next quarter, with six each in the capital and Mumbai.
The move will mark the world’s second biggest burger chain’s entry into the Indian fast food market, which is dominated by McDonald’s, Dominos, KFC and legions of small, local operators.
No franchise model
“The initial plan is to roll out a store every few weeks to keep the momentum going,” Live Mint quoted “a person with direct knowledge of the matter” as saying.
The source added that the chain has been looking at a company-owned and operated model for its high street and mall stores. “That’s how Burger King will develop the India market for the first few years....without taking the franchise route.”
Last year, Burger King established a joint-venture with Indian private equity firm Everstone Capital Management to launch operations in the subcontinent. Everstone controls an 89% stake in the venture with the rest owned by Burger King.
The Florida-based chain, which counts Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital as its majority shareholder, has already ramped up its social media effort to create a buzz for its imminent arrival after months of speculation.
Last week, the company posted “India, here we come! First stop – New Delhi!” on its Facebook page.
Room for everyone
The Indian food service market was estimated to be worth US$48bn in 2013, according to research agency Technopak Advisors. However, chain restaurants accounted for only US$2.5bn of the total, with local operators in control of the lion’s share of the market.
Earlier this year, Niren Chaudhary, president of Yum! Restaurants, India’s KFC licence holder, went on the record as saying that there is huge potential for quick-service food in India. “Street food is our biggest competitor,” he said. “So there is room for all to grow.”
However, as Burger King prepares to enter a market that its biggest global rival, McDonald’s entered two decades ago, it will have to catch up on local knowledge.
Like McDonald’s with beef-heavy menus for the international market, Burger King will have to focus on its chicken and vegetarian products in a fast-food market where 75% of orders are vegetarian .
The newcomer has reportedly spent the last six months devising a menu that will bring some India-specific modifications in dressings for Indian consumers. It will also start with its vegetarian and chicken burgers, and subsequently add lamb burgers to the menu, Live Mint revealed.