Thursday, December 29, 2005

The craze for Big-Mac just got a boost

If there is a segment of industry that gets benefited by the sprawling of malls in India, it’s the food industry. I pray to God that someone starts an investment option specifically covering food outlets in all the new malls. I’d put in all the money I can ever lay my hands upon. Rest assured these outlets are among the fastest growing segment in the service industry. One visit to any mall in the country – from the highly profitable few like the Spencers in Chennai to malls one-too-many in Gurgaon to the latest one in Indore - would tell us that. The guys who make the most out of these malls are the food outlet folks who typically manage to etch themselves strategically into the ground floor of the malls. Most of the customers who enter the mall walk just around freely in the Air Conditioned environment and have a quick snack in between. Sometimes, they may even go to the extent of catching up with a movie in the multiplex, but never a branded store.

Whatever I wrote above have been covered umpteen times and is pretty much an old stuff. What one can’t possibly expect is a queue to catch up with junk food. A new swanky mall – Treasure Island – just started in this part of India. You can’t call it swanky yet coz it hasn’t even been fully furnished, if you ignore the polished glasses in the frontal face. Infact, you could actually see the sides being given the finishing touch et all. But who really cares for all the jazz? McDonalds has started its operations just before New Year, and in the ground floor at that. This is the first McDonalds in food-crazy Indore. Nothing else probably matters.

People – about 50 to 100 of them – were actually seen WAITING outside in a queue to get into McD. My friends who happened to travel across the road tell me that McD guys let in two people at a time, and the queue was about 50 to 100 long. That would probably translate to a half an hour wait just to get in. Ever heard of that before? Agreed that the taste is good and the environment is swanky and the feel is big. But wait in a queue just to get in?

Rest assured that McD is having a rocking time in India - all at a time when most of the erstwhile fast-food crazy developed world is waking up to the fact that most of the health damage is done in the readymade junk food. To quote a line from an article on BigMac “More often than not, the fast food places take basically good food and turn it into bad”.

Another piece says “The new suit alleges that products such as Chicken McNuggets were "hazardous and detrimental" to an extent beyond what was understood by the ordinary consumer.”

All this has created an expected backlash against the McD culture in the US. One funny spoof of what might become of Afghanistan if McD enters is here.

I'm not for or against McD, but it's just that I can't understand the craze.

To cut the long story short: Fast food brands like McDonalds are increasingly trying to capture growing markets like India and China for two reasons. One, because India and China are growing and the growth rate of middleclass could mean only thing: more revenues. The other reason is because the backlash that these folks see in the developed world would literally be absent in countries like India, what with the fascination for brands and the inherent longing for a western lifestyle. There might also be a third reason: Bad-for-health litigations, if any, would literally take forever for it to end. This means comfortable business for a long time to come. Food crazy Indians are happy. McD is happy. Who's really complaining?


At Friday, December 30, 2005 11:36:00 AM, Blogger Jammy said...

Who's really complaining?
Health conscious people like you and I

At Saturday, December 31, 2005 3:07:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Actually I dont have a problem with people eating what they eat.. its their choice afterall. But I cant understandinng waiting an hour to gete into a hotel et all...


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