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Feb, 04 2014

Our expansion opportunities are unlimited

McDonald's revolutionised the way Indians looked at and consumed fast food and now it is all set to make further inroads into the country. Parina Sood spoke at length with Amit Jatia, Vice Chairman, Westlife Development Limited who spilled the beans on ho

Since Hardcastle is McDonald's Master Franchisee in the country and McDonald's doesn't sub-franchise further; then what business model does the brand follow in the country for expansion?

Hardcastle Restaurants Private Limited; now consolidated as BSE listed Westlife Development Ltd is a Development Licensee of McDonald's Corporation and operates and manages all McDonald's India restaurants in the West and South Region. Globally, McDonald's has varying franchise structures that are applied based on changing/ differing markets/ circumstances and stages of a brand development. Today, McDonald's has over 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries out of which over 80 per cent are owned and operated by varying franchise models, including 50 Development Licensed countries.

While McDonald's uses the direct franchise model in most of the countries to expand, why is it different in India?

When McDonald's set up operations in India in 1996 they did so through a Joint Venture partnership with two local companies that displayed strong regional knowledge and a deep understanding of the sensitivities required for functioning within the dynamic Indian market. World over, McDonald's operates through the franchising model. In India too, McDonald's has franchised its business to two of its Indian partners out of which Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (HRPL) is a Development Licensee. However, HRPL does not sub-franchise its business in India. All McDonald's restaurants in West and South India are company (HRPL) owned and company operated.

For the coming few years, what will be McDonald's expansion strategy in the country?

HRPL has a robust expansion plan in place that focuses on growing the business from strength to strength. We have an investment plan of over Rs 500 crore in the next two to three years. We plan to aggressively increase our retail footprint to fortify our presence in the existing market and enter into newer markets to add 75-100 new restaurants by FY 2015.

With the recent development (within McDonalds) and changes in the higher management, has the brand's growth plans changed for India? If yes, how?

Our expansion opportunities are unlimited as the market is relatively underpen-etrated. HRPL has the ability to drive an aggressive, yet disciplined growth plan and run operations at best-in-class performance levels while providing unique and crave-able menu to the customers.




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