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Burger Singh joins desi startups abroad



NEW DELHI: A new breed of Indian startups is increasingly stepping out of the safe haven of Indian shores to test uncharted waters. From cab-hailing companies and craft beer startups to homegrown quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, global markets are the new destinations for founders of these desi brands.

For instance, Londoners will soon be able to bite into Bihari gosht burgers and aloo pyaz rings, thanks to Gurgaon-headquartered QSR startup Burger Singh that has started operations in the UK. The company, which serves Indianised variants of the fast food that go by the names of Malabar Express and Bunty Pappeh Da Aloo burger, has piloted two outlets in the UK and plans to launch 18 more by 2021.

Similarly, the Bengaluruheadquartered Ola — Uber’s rival in India — said on Tuesday that it plans to start business in the UK.

In June, hotel aggregator Oyo Rooms expanded to China and has plans to foray into European markets.

New Delhi-based B9 Beverages, the maker of craft beer Bira 91, has started selling its beer in the US and Southeast Asia, while its smaller rival White Rhino has tapped into the UK and Nepal to compete with local brands.

“Barriers like high transportation costs to foreign markets that existed for traditional businesses 20 years ago are no longer there,” said Ankur Jain, founder of Bira.

At the same time, Indian entrepreneurs have been quick to realise that what works in India may need some tweaking to suit global tastes. “The packaging of White Rhino beer that is being sold in the UK has a higher aesthetic value,” said founder of White Rhino, Ishan Puri. The labels on the bottles boast distinct Indian motifs and Devnagri script.

Likewise, Burger Singh outlets in the UK will serve liquor and will function on the lines of a pub, said the cofounder of the chain, Kabir Jeet Singh.

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