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McDonald’s cooks up new Indian breakfast menu including masala dosa burgers


MUMBAI: McDonald’s is planning a breakfast revolution with a branded menu that will include culinary delights that range from the quaint — masala dosa burgers with molaga podi sauce — to the familiar — anda bhurji.

The McBreakfast is aimed at luring consumers early in the day with new dishes, some of which will only be available in the morning, in the hope that this will help perk up business in a sluggish industry.

The new menu, a combination of continental and Indian options, will be launched by the weekend, initially in Mumbai and then across India.

“We continue to look at inspiration from Indian cuisine and bring it as a McDonald’s format which will give you flavours from the west but the familiarity of Indian,” said Amit Jatia, vice-chairman of Westlife DevelopmentBSE -0.68 %, which runs McDonald’s restaurants in the west and south.

The focus on breakfast isn’t new for McDonald’s. For instance, some of its restaurants have been opening early and dishing out egg, cheese and sausage muffins since 2010.

And neither is the borrowing from Indian food. About two decades ago, McDonald’s took a cue from street food and launched the Aloo Tikki burger, which went on to become one of the fastest-selling products in its stores. What’s new, however, is the launch ofan entire range as a separate menu, according to McDonald’s.

Apart from masala dosa burgers, it will also sell spinach and corn and hash brown brioches, along with plain and masala scrambled eggs, waffles and hotcakes. The company had a similar strategy for coffee and hot beverages when it launched the McCafe three years ago as a distinct format.

The latest move is also an attempt to adopt a healthier tack with most of the dishes being grilled, rather than fried.

“Breakfast convenience on the go will increase as more people enter the segment. As a western quick service restaurant, we are going to grow the Indian breakfast market dramatically,” said Jatia, suggesting that there’s enough room and that McDonald’s won’t necessarily compete with the Udupi and Irani restaurants that cater to breakfasters.

The eating-out market in the countryis estimated at $94 billion, or about Rs 5.85 lakh crore, but only 2% of it is organised with national and international food retail brands.

Major chains such as McDonald’s, Yum’s KFC and Pizza Hut and Jubilant FoodWorksBSE 1.77 %, which operates Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts, have been either struggling to grow or posting single-digit growth amid an economic slowdown for almost three years now.

“Breakfast is a huge opportunity which is still untapped by organised players. But the biggest challenge is that most consumers still prefer fresh, homemade breakfasts or packaged healthier products such as masala oats. Hence, (demand) will be restricted to consumers who are travelling,” said Abneesh Roy, senior vice-president, Edelweiss Financial ServicesBSE 4.15 %.

In India, McDonald’s has been adding stores, new formats and services, investing nearly `500 crore to open about 120 stores in the past five years. The India focus comes amid the global giant giving up control of its business in China.

Source: economic times

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