The Best Food Franchises In India For 2012

Every-time I meet an entrepreneur who is interested in a food opportunity, I see a lot of passion and a direct hint to seeking something which is a sure shot success. It is a taken, that if I get into the F&B space, I am bound to succeed. Where does this optimism spring from? Why are food entrepreneurs so enthusiastic about a venture that could either succeed or fail? What is our consumption story? How has the modern food industry evolved? Well, all of them have a common chain, a chain that takes us to success, and success from an opportunity which has never been as exciting as it is ‘timed’ now.

I am going to draw the attention of our readers to the growth of the fast food franchise segment in India. After having consulted several brands in this space, we realize pretty well why there is so much venture funding following this segment, as are the millions of franchisees, who are interested in the McDonalds, Pizza Huts, Dominos, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Haldirams and many other brands that are presently satisfying the Indian palate.

What excites me when I visit a mall is that many a times three generations are sitting together at a table in a new “desi” food court, digging into traditional Indian dishes ranging from biryani to dosas to seekh kebabs which go hand in hand with pizza, burgers and fries. But that's not the reason these traditional upstarts have succeeded in storming what was once the bastion of western brands like McDonald's and Pizza Hut. QSRs [Quick Service Restaurants] are quite successful in India. Over the last five years, a lot of Indian companies have started getting into the franchising model and expanding into different cities. Brands like Karim's, Nizam's, Moti Mahal, Nathu's Sweets, Rajdhani and Sagar Ratna —have all joined the party— to experiment with nascent fast-food franchises. These brands have used effective learnings from experts / franchise consultants and have continously upgraded their learnings on 'how to franchise your restaurants' or 'how to franchise your food brand.'

Experimenting with taste buds has always been the mantra of food lovers in India. With increasing disposable incomes, spendthrift attitude and easy access to the west, exposure to global cuisines has never been easier. According to a research, the demand for fast food is consistently rising in India. I am going to point out the enormity of one segment in India and what an opportunity this segment alone presents to entrepreneurs in India. The most delectable of them all being the Pizza, which has emerged as the favorite fast food of the Indians – especially the younger generation. Reports suggest that the Indian organized pizza market will surge at a CAGR of more than 27% during 2012-2015 and is expected to cross the INR 35 Billion mark by 2015. This shows the tremendous potential and the platform that India provides for market players to grow, as the penetration of pizza consumption is still low. Apart from tier I cities there is exceptional growth opportunity in tier II and tier III cities, where the educated middle class population is becoming more sophisticated with respect to standardize food consumption. Currently, about 250,000 pizzas are being delivered every day in India and this is expected to double in the next three to four years. There were 271 pizza outlets in 2004, and today there are 905 of them - a 300 per cent growth in just seven years.

With several international and national players in frenzy to capture the market one would think that newer players would be apprehensive of entering the region, however, such is not the case. Apart from the well established brands like Dominos (whose IPO screamed to the international food industry the potential India could have) and Pizza Hut, this underpenetrated market in India makes it the Klondike gold rush of the Pizza world and global players like California-based 'Pizza Kitchen', American pizza chain 'Sbarro', Spanish chain 'Telepizza' and UK-based 'Pizza Express' and Virginia based ‘Manhattan Pizza” are all planning to stampede their way into Indian living rooms.

It’s not just the Pizza market that seeing this boom. The entire food and beverage sector is on the rise in India and the timing seems opportune to open up an outlet whether be a café or a pizzeria or a darshini (as they call it in south India) or a highway Dhaba. so the question remains as to which are the best food franchises in india or which brands could we consider as the top 10 food franchises in India. While getting a franchise of a McDonalds or a KFC has its own dynamics, there are several alternatives available which offer profitable franchises which can be considered as the top food franchises in india. Fast food chain serving Indian delicacies like Jumbo King or Goli Vada Pav or the Tibbs Frankies. South Indian chains like Saravana Bhavan, Sagar Ratna & Adigas, Cafés like Di Bella, Sandwich Franchises as I may call like Subway or Quiznos, Yogurt stores like Cocoberry and Luv n Berry all are lucrative options for someone looking to enter the F&B sector.

Over 100 International Chains are firming up their plans to get into India over the next couple of years. The list of food franchises in india includes Manhattan Pizza which is in early stages of planning their entry strategy. Other international brands like Italian Ci Gusta, Sarpino's Pizzeria, Bahrain-based Shawarma Xpress, American PizzaVito, Sri Lanka's Loon Tao, Singapore's Berrylite have already made some headway in India. Unconfirmed reports of Burger King Franchise coming in with the European Food Giant Amrest Holdings are doing the rounds. Amrest off course is all geared up to launch its first La Tagliatella restaurants in India. Who isn’t aware of the Tata Tie up of Starbucks and Jubiliant’s tie up with Dunkin Donuts?

The revolution is already underway across the country, as global chains seek to woo a broader cross-section of customers by incorporating traditional spices and ingredients into their menus. Local upstarts have begun to attract deep-pocketed financiers in the bid to build nationwide fast-food chains of their own. With so many options it may get confusing for an entrepreneur to decide where to put in his investment and which franchise will give him the best ROI, thus doing your homework and giving careful thought to the subject is of utmost importance. Questions like where will I open the outlet? What is my catchment area? What other options of dining/ eating out do my clients have? What outlets are present in the nearest vicinity? How much walk-in can I expect? Is my franchisor value conscious, because we have the world on our platter and co-relating these choices across different price points with what is on offer is critical? Which part of the Indian subcontinent or state you are in, because each state of India has its own culture and eating habits. The location and eating habits of the community matter significantly, McDonalds have come a long way from their first store which opened in Kolkata which served their signature Big Mac with beef to opening an all vegetarian outlet at Vaishno Devi. Thus a careful evaluation of all the available options is a must. Once the ground work is done it’s only a matter of time that you start earning quick bucks from your quick serving restaurant franchise.


Amit Nahar is amongst the most senior franchise consultants in India. Managing Director of Franchise Catalysts Pvt Ltd, Founder Of several companies including (Average 300,000 page views every month) and Sparkleminds, Vice President Of Franchising Association Of India, an active Columnist, Speaker, Blogger (, an Investor, a sports enthusiast and a social works Volunteer. At sparkleminds ( a core franchise consulting company he has be...

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