When Burger King decided to enter India, the American hamburger chain did something that it has never done before. It gave the local master franchise full control over the menu.
For Burger King, the Indian entry - it opened the first store on November 9, 2014 - was a milestone. The Miami-based company was already present in 99 countries and India was the 100th. It was a late entrant to India's organised fast-food market as US rivals McDonald's, KFC and Subway were all here already. India being the 100th market, the company wanted to make its journey in India a success story.
Raj Varman, Chief Executive of Burger King India:
"We see the market is huge in India which is still untapped.
Thus our competition is not the already existing QSR brands, but this untapped opportunity"
In the US, the chain is known for its non-vegetarian whoppers, but in India, it wanted to entice also the huge population that doesn't eat meat.
Burger King India created six varieties of vegetarian sandwiches - including a veg whopper -, vegetarian snackers and entry-level products to satisfy the taste buds of vegetarians, comprising 40-50 per cent of the market.
The company is trying to cover the distance it lost to competition due to its late entry by opening back-to-back restaurants. It currently has 16 outlets in India and seven more are being set up. According to Varman, Burger King is planning to 30-40 new restaurants this calendar year.