In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Amar Sandhu, Vice President, Texas Chicken talks about their plan to enter India.
Tell us about Texas Chicken and its presence in the global market?
Founded in San Antonio, TX in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken, along with its sister brand Texas Chicken outside of the Americas, is the 3rd largest quick service chicken restaurant chain in the world. The brand specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, Sandwiches, Honey-butter Biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, home-style sides all for a great value.
Church’s Chicken and Texas Chicken have more than 1,650 locations in 25 countries and global markets with system-wide sales of more than $1.2 billion.
What made you to venture into the Indian market?
India has a rich culinary culture and love for great quality food. With Texas Chicken’s 65 years of heritage in the chicken QSR category, combined with its uncompromising pursuit of serving only great-tasting and high quality food, we believe that our brand will resonate well with the Indian market; especially among the millennial population who are always on the lookout for exciting and bold food experiences and hassle free service to match their increasingly busy lifestyles.
In the last few years the expectation for quality in India has gone up and the culinary boundaries have come down. The timing for our India entry is right as there’s a long runway ahead for growth.
Will there be any tweaking in the menu as you are a chicken focused brand?
A good understanding of the local culture in each country is essential to Texas Chicken’s success in International markets. One of our key success factors for rapid growth in Asian markets is our strategy of striking the balance between maintaining our brand’s international menu standards while incorporating local tastes. We typically introduce 5 to 10 new products on an annual basis in each country to cater to the ever-evolving tastes.
Extensive research on menu plan will be conducted to best understand and cater to Indian customers’ food preferences. Great tasting vegetarian offerings are a must for India as this is an important part of India’s food culture. Overall it is great taste, freshness, new taste profiles, culinary adventurism and bold flavours that will attract guests to visit Texas Chicken restaurants. Quality and diversity of the menu range remain the key reasons why we are the top restaurant brand choice among guests.
What will be your marketing strategy for the market?
It is about staying true to our strategy of making great food experiences that guests love. We also place great emphasis on consistency in quality, and continuous innovation to ensure we deliver the best value and taste to our customers. Constant research and understanding of the local cultures will be crucial to address the ever evolving preferences of our guests.
We pride ourselves on being a trusted brand in the chicken QSR industry, where customers are always assured of being served the best chicken and biscuits in the world. As such, positive word-of-mouth is important to our success in the region and we strongly encourage this through active engagement on social media and in-restaurant service/merchandising.
Local restaurant marketing is implemented extensively to drive trial, especially for new restaurants. To cater to local taste preferences and Asian customers’ fondness for trying new flavors, we are launching as many as 10 new products annually to create “new news” for our brand. Our tagline “It’s Crunch Time” emphasises meals that are flavourful, fresh, crunchy that allow you, your friends and your family to escape the day-to-day stresses of life.
When are you coming to the Indian market? What are the criteria you are looking for the partner?
India has a tremendous growth opportunity and we seek to build a long term, sustainable business here with like-minded franchisees who share our beliefs in excellence, unrelenting quality standards and guests-focused strategies. We are in the initial stages of discussions with interested parties and the response we have had so far has been tremendous.
Which are the target cities there in your radar?
We work very closely with our franchisees to identify target cities and develop expansion strategies. With the continued urbanization of India, there are ample choices. We will study the market extensively to shape our development strategy. With the end goal to carefully select cities and locations that drive the growth of the brand and help our franchisees build a profitable, sustainable and scalable enterprise.
Is there any specific number of restaurants you are looking at?
The number of restaurants will be scaled in accordance to the market development studies and franchisees capacity for growth. Ultimately, we are committed to building a sustainable, profitable and scalable business model with our franchisees.
What is your expansion plan both internationally and in India?
Asia-Pacific and Middle East are the fastest growing regions of the company. We have successfully launched the brand in 10 new countries in a very short time. In Asia Pacific, Texas Chicken has grown from a one country business (Indonesia) to eight countries in a very short time. The healthy and sustainable growth speaks volumes of the brand’s strength and popularity. Texas Chicken’s growth is mainly fueled by the fast-growing emerging markets, rapid urbanisation and expansion of middle class consumers in countries where chicken is the preferred meat.
The next wave of regional expansion includes Asian countries like India, Cambodia, Myanmar and Philippines.
In terms of global markets, which is your top performing country. In terms of revenue and footfalls.
Our top international markets are New Zealand, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Singapore and UAE
The halal thing? Is your chicken halal in midden eastern countries.
Yes, our restaurants and menu is Halal certified in countries with large Muslim population.
Will your products be halal in indian market?
We have the capabilities to serve Halal menu and will implement it in accordance to local market preferences after market studies are conducted.