McDonald's entry strategy in India
|With a population over 1 billion, no one can disregard the fact that India is a lucrative market for international marketers. This fact has even encouraged hardcore US based firms to enter the country, thereby bringing in their own cultural flavor in the era of the global village. McDonald's as a brand certainly symbolizes American culture (or as the world sees it) in some way and wherever the company goes, it brings a part of that burger-lover flavor of America to that part of the world.
But for India, it had to be different. When the company first entered India, it was only 1995 and the world knew McDonald's for its uniquely famous beef burgers. But, that was a strict "no-no" for Indian consumers. In fact the brand was so much associated with that BigMac (beef burger) product of theirs, industry experts feared that they cannot even grow-out of it. So, was it true? Was it possible for McDonald's to initiate effective product innovation to sustain in Indian market?
Well, considering the fact that the company achieved its break-even after almost 14 years of operation in India, some might disagree. But, I on the other hand, should say that McDonald's not only have created a milestone but also made way for many other fast food retailers in the form of KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos etc. And interestingly, they are adapting some key components of McDonald's strategy. That is Indianizing their products. Be it flavors of Punjab or Pizzas served with Kebab toppings, fast food retailers are doing it all. They are trying to think like Indian consumers, by introducing Hot & Spicy menus. Not only that, the companies are also focusing on how the Indians eat and how the middle-class price sensitive consumers would love some combo packs. So, they are all doing it. They are bringing in varied flavors and they are making offerings which will allow the consumers to try out different things from starters to deserts in fixed price they need to pay. This price cue, worked wonders for these branded retailers in the country and they are competing at the same level or even more in some cases with the traditional restaurants of the country.
In fact these companies have showed two important things. Firstly they have identified India as the global vegetarian fast food hub and secondly they showed the importance of branding in the F&B industry. Adapting their strategy, many Indian companies are also establishing branded retail chains throughout the country. Mainland China, a Chinese retail food chain is the most prominent example of all.
Thus, no matter how much one hated the concept of Americanization of the cultures, or for instance the cow killing image of McDonald's, people of India are picking up the MaCFries, one-by-one, dipping them in the ketchup, putting them in their mouth and with a smile, licking their lips and saying "I am loving it".