* Restaurants look for franchise partners
* Denny's Corp to foray into India in 2012
* Johnny Rockets, Pollo Tropical, Applebee's looking to
By Nandita Bose
MUMBAI, April 11 The scramble by global food
companies into India's fast food sector intensified on Monday as
several U.S. chains announced plans to enter the country, hoping
to tap the surging spending power in Asia's third-largest
Restaurants like Denny's Corp , known for serving
pancakes and sausages all day, and Rita's Water Ice, which would
be the first foreign competitor to local water ice brands like
Gola, which operates out of little stalls placed mostly on
streets, plan to enter India over the next two years.
Pollo Tropical of Carrols Restaurant , known for
Caribbean-flavored chicken, Applebee's and Johnny Rockets, known
for its hamburgers, are also looking to cash into the Indian
quick-service restaurant market worth $13 billion.
All brands will face challenges as they compete with
incumbent McDonald's and Yum Brands, not the least of which
would be adapting a meat-centric menu to a largely vegetarian
Denny's Corp, which plans to make an Indian foray in 2012,
has set up a supply chain network and customised its offering to
suit local palates, William Edwards, chief executive of EGS,
which handles the company's international expansion.
He said the menus would be stripped free of beef and pork,
and would focus on fish and vegetarian dishes instead.
"In India we are planning to have regional licencees with
10, 25 or 50 units," Edwards said, adding that every 10 units
required an investment of about $5 million.
Others wanting a foothold include Wendy's, Arby's
International, CKE Restaurants with Carl's Jr and Focus Brands
with Schlotzsky's Deli, all known for sandwiches and burgers.
BannaStrow's Crepes and Coffee, Moe's Southwest Grill and
Carvel Ice Cream are also in line.
"We are excited about the opportunity in India and are
hopeful that the franchises we have brought with us will see an
opportunity for expansion here," said Nicole Y.Lamb Hale, the
assistant secretary for manufacturing services, U.S. Department
of Commerce, who accompanied the franchises into India.
Starbucks Corp and Dunkin Donuts recently announced
plans to enter India, taking advantage of a growing preference
for coffee and a culture that is increasingly socializing in
SEARCH FOR FRANCHISEES
India caps foreign ownership in single brand retail at 51
percent, forcing all foreign chains to seek partnerships to do
business in the nation of 1.2 billion people.
The franchise owners plan to meet the Ministry of Commerce
and Industry and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in the coming
The franchise market in India, estimated to be worth $3.3
billion, is growing at a rate of 30 percent.
Casual dining chain Applebee's and Johnny Rockets also said
they were in talks with several players in the country as they
sought franchise partners.
"We are still in talks and will probably start our
operations with Mumbai, Delhi," Phil Crimmins, president of
Applebee's international division said.
Johnny Rockets said it was also open to joint venture
"We are hoping to sign a deal in the next 6-8 months and
after that start operations in the next 6-9 months," Steve
Devine, senior vice president, international development at
Johnny Rockets said.
(Editing by Jui Chakravorty)