India has emerged as the fastest growing market for Taco Bell as the brand’s 100 th store is set to open by the end of August in the country.

Burman Hospitality, the master franchise partner of Taco Bell in India, plans to invest $100 million to take the total count of restaurants to 600 over the next few years. The brand’s footprint in the country is being scaled up aggressively with addition of one new restaurant every 3-4 days.

Ankush Tuli, Managing Director, Taco Bell APAC, told BusinessLine, “We had opened our 50 th store as recently as October and now we are all set to open the 100 th store in Delhi by the end of August. We are on track to open 600 restaurants in India in the medium term. The brand’s footprint is being scaled up aggressively with the addition of one new restaurant every 80 hours. India is now amongst our largest markets outside of the US and is also the fastest growing market for Taco Bell International.”

Master franchise partner

The brand had appointed Burman Hospitality as the national master franchise partner in India in 2019 as part of its strategy to ramp up its presence in the country.

Gaurav Burman, Director, Burman Hospitality, said, “We have been focusing on getting our strategies in place in terms of multiple formats for the restaurants and a robust national supply chain which has been indigenised. So, we are now looking at the rapid expansion of the brand across the country. We have already invested north of $50 million to date and the rate of investment will rise rapidly. We will invest north of $100 million to reach our goal of 600 restaurants in the medium term.“

The company is focusing on opening new restaurants not just in the metros but also tier-1 markets. The brand recently forayed in cities such as Guwahati, Surat, Vadodara and Ahemdabad and currently has presence in over 19 cities in the country. Nearly 50 per cent of the offerings on the menu of the US-based QSR restaurant brand in India is vegetarian, in line with its localisation strategy.

“Indian consumers are fast embracing Taco Bell for its distinctive offerings and the growth opportunity is massive. We are also uniquely positioned in a time of high inflationary pressures as the brand is built on innovation and offers incredible value to consumers. We are seeing strong traction in India for our differentiated positioning and customised offerings,” Julie Masino, President, Taco Bell International, said.

Eye on ‘Dine-in’

With eating out seeing a strong recovery in the past few months in the country, Tuli pointed out that dine-in is now the lead channel for the brand while the online delivery channel continues to be an important growth pillar.

“Our business is now above the pre-pandemic levels across different formats and channels. I think the business is definitely back and I believe the shift from unorganised to organised segment will provide a tailwind for us to grow in the coming years,” Burman added. He said that the company has been working with its supplier network to manage the inflationary pressures.

The brand has been witnessing strong traction for its core products such as tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas while also offering Indian innovations to woo consumers. Taco Bell is part of the American food service company Yum! Brands, Inc, which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut.

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