More than a decade after they set foot in India, all the major MNC fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Yum! (which owns the KFC and Pizza Hut brands), and Domino’s are fast changing their stripes and business models in India to the extent they wouldn’t have even imagined in their early days.
Burdened with a name and an international legacy that's enough to drive away a third of Indian consumers who happen to be vegetarian, KFC is desperately repositioning itself as any other fast food chain serving “irresistibly" tasty food and not just chicken. Its research showed that nearly 97% of urban Indians eat out in groups of three or more, and at least one of them a vegetarian, would mind going to a place that specialised in non-vegetarian food.
“We found that the vegetarians in such groups were always finicky and as a result had the veto power to decide where they should eat. We want KFC to appeal to everybody. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians,” says Arvind Mediratta, chief marketing officer, Yum Brands India. Although KFC still gets just about 15% of its revenues selling vegetarian items, it has significantly increased the number of veg offerings on its menu.
According to Mediratta, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections are completely segregated and KFC employs a separate crew for preparing and serving veg food. Even the company's advertising and marketing campaigns in its second coming in India have consciously stayed away from both its "Kentucky" and "fried chicken" images. "Our place of origin is not a problem now. Consumers today are getting...