Bring Global Taste To The Indian Palate

Rajeev Varman, CEO, Burger King IndiaRajeev has been associated with Burger King for 19 years now, prior to which he was the VP - Operations at LAL Enterprises, and Multi Unit Manager at Taco Bell.

India has seen a huge shift in food trends in recent times - a growing number of working population led to better disposable income juxtaposed with exposure to international cuisine when they travel, thereby adding to their aspiration of seeking variety in line with food available across the globe. Many local food chains are trying to tap this opportunity and we can see a glut of restaurants mushrooming around with innovative menu offering. However, the ratio of success has been very limited. The key is to rightly decipher global food ethos and build it into Indian mainstream offering. Here are some cues to capitalize:

Feeding the Modern Palate
When we talk about ‘Modern India', perhaps we actually have a reflection of young and experimenative India. What are they up to? Seeking value or aspiring premium or blend of both? Difficult to quantify but certainly looking for a taste of adventure ­ sharp to delicate, spicy to creamy, sour to sweet, Fresh to Cool. A huge wave of trend is underlying these cross sections.

Value Variable
It's no surprise that price will
continue to be a strong motivator, which means consumer will be looking for more value at restaurant. Generally, new and unique food suffer price perception barrier - consumer misattribute them as premium in their mind. With intense competition and low en-try barrier, products have to outweigh the price. Value is no more less or cheap, it's about giving more so that consumers keep coming back.

Convenience at the Core
Why it took so long to embrace western taste in Indian Menu? Most likely, it's our wholesome cooking practice with overly complex preparedness. When we imagine taste, we imagine ingredients and multilevel of preparedness around that. Hence, simplicity never struck to our mind. Nowadays, due to increasing working hours, time spent on food preparation has dropped significantly, which means food needs to be accessible in fast and easy way, therefore leaving us to ponder whether it is time to pioneer simplicity and convenience. The key is to streamline the menu with such food options. The faster we adapt, the quicker we grab the market. Lighter options are bound to proliferate on today's Indian menus.

Sharing is Caring
The sharing food experience has been integral to Indian eating culture. From meals to snacks, foods are meant to be eaten with community and experiences are deeply ingrained to culture as it creates a great sense of togetherness. Meals contribute a significant proportion of food business. It is gradually evolving from traditional combo meal (adding menu items together) to fusion or heterogeneity. Exclusive meal menu is up for the grab. It's a great conversation starter and encircles the sharing experience.

A Larger than Life Experience
Food is part of lifestyle, an extension to individual's expression. It has a massive appeal ­ whether taking pictures of one's food, tagging friend, check-in location and posting them on social media, it is a great marketing cornerstone. Reaction to food is beyond taste and larger than life experience. It has moved from taste to ambience of the place or the way it is served or delivered. Every-thing counts which exist in & around food. With forward looking and fusion friendly profile of India consumers embracing the twist of western taste with local authenticity, it seems India's time has arrived!