Himalaya Foods, which claims to be the country’s biggest manufacturer of canned and frozen foods, will open 500 franchisee-run restaurants across India by the end of this year with the launch of Burgers ’n’ Fries.
The chain will serve all-natural and gluten-free vegetarian and vegan fast food made with wholesome and unrefined ingredients.
Its menu will feature a range of mushroom and cottage cheese burgers, rock salt, masala and garlic pepper fries, and healthy, therapeutic and anti-inflammatory soft drinks.
Himalaya, which is also India’s biggest mushroom grower, says it will launch the chain in a bid to “educate and engage consumers towards making healthier food choices”. It recently successfully trialled the menu at a company-owned retail outlet in Delhi.
“Himalaya is already catering to globally renowned B2B clients with its range of products with healthier innovations. With Indian food preferences changing in favour of greater health consciousness, we think that the time is right to manufacture and market these products,” said founder Man Mohan Malik, adding that the brand’s tag line would be “It’s not junk food”.
“We want to establish the brand as a healthier alternative to popular fast foods, and are building a pan-India franchise chain that can reach out to consumers directly via B2C verticals.”
According to the National Restaurant Association of India, the INR204bn (US$3.1bn) quick-service restaurant market has been growing exponentially, and is expected to increase in size by a quarter by 2021.
“The QSR segment is a very significant segment of the Indian fast food services but is comparatively nascent and has a lot of scope for growth,” the association said.
“Indian QSRs are also coming up and expanding but foreign brands maintain their dominance. McDonald's was the first QSR in India, followed by various others like KFC and Domino's.”
The growth of fast food’s popularity is often attributed to an increasingly wealthy and time-poor middle class, as well as the availability of cheap labour that serves to keep menu prices down.