Saturday, April 20, 2013

Can Zinger become the Big Mac in India?

Shrugging off its early failure, KFC from the stable of Yum! Brands is now eyeing to replicate its Chinese success story and trump McDonald’s in the Indian market. But the question remains – can it beat McDonald’s first mover advantage in this market, and of course its robust supply chain?

It’s 9 o’clock on a wintry sunday morning and despite the chill and a holiday, quite a few young couples could be seen taking a relaxed breakfast at a KFC outlet in New Delhi’s Connaught Place. Whether they are pressed for time or it’s their love for KFC morning offerings, is not known. But certainly the ubiquitous Louisville, Kentucky-based chicken specialty restaurant from the Yum! Brands stable, has caught the fancy of urban youth. So much so that the well-entrenched McDonald’s known for its family and kids TG, has aggressively revamped its offering to orient itself to the young adults.

Starting in 1996, after a slow and circumspect start, today KFC is Yum! Brands’ best performing subsidiary in India, well ahead of Pizza Hut – once the flagship for the US-parent company in India. But what’s worth noting is that with KFC Yum! Brands is hoping to create a China like success story in India. Today KFC is 80% of the Yum! Brands’ over 4,200 outlets in China – a market which contributes 33% of its global revenue. But then that’s not without a solid reason. While India being a chicken loving country, the chances of KFC’s continuing success becomes stronger, more so as offerings like Zinger Burger, and the trademark KFC hot and crispy chicken offerings, are gobbled by urban India. Officially the QSR chain is growing at a blistering 70%. And the company has already started eyeing for bigger targets. When asked about the company’s target to hit Rs.10 billion turnover in India, Dhruv Kaul, Marketing Director, KFC India says, “With the kind of growth and expansion we are having, that looks a very humble figure, we are aiming much higher in the coming years.”

However, to achieve these bigger targets, KFC has to take the game away from McDonald’s, which already has a very strong presence across the country. Certainly, the QSR that believes in finger licking taste has outlined few key growth areas to take the matter forward. While keeping its great taste USP alive by further expanding and localising its menu is its primary strategy, increasing its footprints to roughly 50 cities, increasing the serving hours and thus drawing a broader customer base – especially among the Indian youth – are the key focus areas for the company now. Working on the lines, the company recently introduced Streetwise range starting at Rs.25 to cater to the college going youths, and lure the mass that have been loving McDonald’s happy price menu (starts at Rs.20) so far. Moreover, KFC now aims to expand to 100 items serving all kind of customer needs from health to indulgence.

McDonald’s on its part too knows that KFC is the one to watch out for. As such the Big Mac maker is on a good move growing at 35% over a revenue base that’s much bigger than KFC in India, and doubling its revenue every 3-years. But then the fact that the past couple of years have seen KFC’s aggression bringing it good dividends is something hard for McDonald’s to ignore. No doubt, a serious competition is already in place. The flow at which both players have started offering new products, right from burger specialty to their respective beverages, to hit the other’s menu clearly explains how spicy the chicken and the burgers have become in both the board rooms.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2013.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri

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