U.S. fast-food chains eye India market to boost growth

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Setting its eyes in the surging spending power of Asia’s third largest economy, several US-based fast-food chains on Monday expressed interest in gaining a strong foothold in India’s growing food market.

The scramble for India’s food market intensified as several U.S. fast-food chains on Monday announced plans to tap Asia’s third largest economy.

 Among the companies that expressed their intention to enter India’s food market were Denny’s Corp, known for its pancakes and sausages; and Rita’s Water Ice, which aims to be the first foreign firm to compete against local water ice brands such as Gola.

Meanwhile, Pollo Tropical of Carrols Restaurant, which is popular for its Caribbean chicken; Applebee’s and Johnny Rockets, which is known for its burgers, also plans to enter India’s fast-food market.

To date, India’s $13-billion fast-food market is considered as one of the fastest-growing industry in the world.

But despite the relatively high-yielding prospects, these companies are facing a tough challenge from McDonald’s Corp. and Yum Brands!, which has already set a strong foothold in India.

To be able to compete with existing foreign food companies, Denny’s executive William Edwards said that they are now planning to customize its menu to suit local taste, before setting up a supply chain by 2012.

Edwards said that their food offering would be beef and pork-free, adding that the company would focus on vegetarian and fish dishes instead of battling with meat-centric fast-food chains.

There are also reports that BananStrow’s Crepes and Coffee, Arby’s International, Wendy’s Restaurant, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Carvel Ice Cream, CKE Restaurants, and Focus Brands expressed interest in gaining a foothold in India.

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