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US Fast Food Outlets in India -- Going Veg

12/22/10

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Leading American fast food chains, which globally are known for their non-vegetarian offerings, are raking in more moolah from their veggie delights in India following the lead of organised retail supermarkets which tend to avoid stocking non-vegetarian fresh produce items.

Cashing in on the rising fitness awareness among Indian consumers, players such as McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino's are seeing over 50 per cent of their sales coming from their vegetarian spread. In contrast, the global average of sales split for Domino's is 95 per cent from non-veg offerings, while the non-veg contribution to Pizza Hut's sales globally is 70 per cent of overall revenue.

"Consumers are making smarter and healthier choices these days and are looking for leaner food, trying to avoid red meats and fats as much as possible. This is a growing trend not only in India but also globally," said Anup Jain, marketing director of Pizza Hut. The company positions itself as an affordable casual dining restaurant as opposed to quick service restaurant formats chains such as KFC, McDonald's and Domino's.

For Pizza Hut, which at present operates a total of 120 restaurants across India, the vegetarian menu contributes about 70 per cent to its overall sales. The company is famous for its classic margherita and its signature 'kadai paneer' pizzas as well as its creamy stroganoff pastas. An analyst said, "It helps that the vegetarian options typically are the entry-level products and these therefore represent the bridge to indulgence for many aspirational consumers."

"Our vegetarian pizza menu contributes close to 60-65 per cent to our overall pizza sales," said Harneet Singh Rajpal, general manager, marketing, Jubilant Foodworks, the India master franchisee of Domino's Pizza. "Even in the pasta offerings, 70 per cent of sales come from the vegetarian offerings," said Dev Amritesh, head-marketing at Domino's India.

Vikram Bakshi, managing director (north & east) of McDonald's India, said that if menu across the company's stores are taken into consideration, vegetarian offerings account for 45 per cent of total sales. "The vegetarian menu has always done very well since we started in the domestic market. Our Indian innovation such as McAloo Tikki burger has also taken off in markets outside India since the last four years," he said.

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And if the percentage of vegetarians were as high in the U.S. as it is in India, I have no doubt that McDonald's and the other fast food restaurants would be offering (vegetarian) food here as well! : )

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