Pooja Yadav

McDonald’s North and East to double its footprint in next 3 years

The fast food giant plans to scale up its presence to 30 restaurants across the Northeast, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand over the next three years.

The fast food industry in India has witnessed exponential growth over the last decade. In 2022, the demand for fast food amongst the working millennials and Gen Z, grew quite a bit.

Now, the quick service restaurant (QSR) McDonald’s wants to scale up its presence in North and East India. The fast food giant recently opened its largest restaurant in India, in Guwahati, Assam. It is spread across 6,700 sq ft, with a capacity to feed 220 people at a time.

afaqs! spoke to Anant Agrawal, vice chairman, McDonald’s India – North and East, to understand the brand’s expansion plans, marketing strategies, and more.

Edited excerpts:

You recently opened up the largest McDonald’s outlet in India, in Guwahati. What kind of opportunities and demands do you see in Northeast states?

Our first restaurant in the Northeast, is in Guwahati. We see a good potential in the region and plan to scale up our presence to 30 restaurants across the Northeast, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand over the next three years.

Can you talk to us about your expansion plans in North and East India?

We’re committed to doubling our presence in these two regions over the next 3-5 years.

How do you approach marketing? How do you plan to advertise in Northeast India?

Our marketing strategy is centred on making feel-good moments easy for everyone. We always strive for operational excellence exemplified through quality, service, cleanliness and value (QSC&V). We are focussed on putting the brand and our customers at the centre of everything that we do in order to create memorable experiences.

This is one of the reasons why we are setting up i'm lovin’ it Live music platform to build genuine and enduring connections with our customers. We have also recently roped in India’s most popular and charismatic young actor Kartik Aaryan as our brand ambassador.

With many international players reinventing and coming into the Indian market, are you planning to diversify your menu options?

We’re rapidly modernising restaurants, equipping them with state-of-the-art digital self-ordering kiosks and offering a personalised ordering experience. Our modernised restaurants feature a contemporary look and feel, with globally inspired décor, furniture and exterior design. They offer a warm and welcoming environment.

Anant Agrawal, vice chairman, McDonald’s India – North and East
Anant Agrawal, vice chairman, McDonald’s India – North and East

We will continue to evolve our menu, inspired by local taste buds. Our menu features a variety of market-led innovations such as Butter Chicken Burger, Chicken McGrill, McAloo Tikki, Maharaja Mac, in addition to the global favourites Chicken McNuggets, McChicken, Filet-O-Fish, etc.

The latest addition to our menu is Chicken McWings, an authentic chicken delicacy, which is crispy and crunchy on the outside, succulent and tender on the inside. It is filled with mouth-watering flavours and topped with a savoury mix of chilli and lemon seasoning. We’ve received a fantastic response from our customers.

The brand will continue to evolve its digital experience through its app.

McDonald's recently launched its global flagship music IP i'm lovin’ it Live in India, in partnership with MTV. What is the aim of this launch?

i'm lovin’ it Live is a unique global flagship intellectual property of McDonald’s, with music at its core. The idea behind bringing i'm lovin’ it Live to India is to establish deeper connection with our fans, through their passion for music, and become a part of their lives.

The concept is built around the premise of popular artistes coming together, and creating unique, never-heard-before compositions, while experimenting with various genres and bringing out fine cultural nuances.

What are your predictions for 2023, as far as the fast food industry in India goes?

As per a Euromonitor International report, the Indian informal eating out (IEO) industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% to $64,977 million by 2025. Within the IEO segment, the chained QSRs market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13% to $3,917 million by 2025.

Chained QSRs are leading the IEO segment’s growth. With our expansion plans, we’re poised to capture a sizeable share of the market.

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