The conventional breakfast system in India is now giving space to the ‘easy-to-grab’ trend.
There’s a popular saying: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. This old nugget of wisdom about breakfast being the most important meal of the day has never resonated more than with urban India. And, it has long been considered the most important meal of the day with research supporting the fact that regular breakfast consumption is associated with several positive outcomes.
Rise and Shine
For ages, breakfast was prepared and consumed at home, and is slowly emerging as one of the fastest-growing categories in the Indian dining industry, all thanks to the global brands betting on this segment. According to a ‘Business Insights on Dining Industry’ study by American Express, the proportion of total spending on breakfast grew by 56% in 2016 over 2015. “Perhaps the biggest trend we have noticed is the growing acceptance of, and appetite for, traditional breakfast foods outside the traditional morning breakfast hours,” shares Gary Moore, Regional VP, MESA, Dine Brands Global, which is a pioneer in the concept of ‘breakfast all day’ for 60 years.
Now, more and more Indians these days are stepping out to have this important part of the meal. According to a research study, cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune, which has majority of the IT and new age crowd, have witnessed restaurants packed during the early hours for breakfast and coffee meetings. Brands serving waffles, pancakes and ‘easy-to-grab’ menu have been a major hit in this segment over the last one year. “The breakfast market seems to be prospective enough; we have various menus – sweet and savoury, and healthy too. We also have ongoing experiments. Dozens of WAFL cafes are already mapped out for India in 2018. We have a lot to do and to say to India,” points out Rajeev Chawla, Executive Partner, WAFL.
Franchising Gains Strength
Franchising has always been the best model for categories which are easily expandable and as breakfast as a segment focuses on the easy-to-grab options this segment is best suited in the franchising model. McDonald’s, which is a pioneer in the franchising segment, was the first to hit the breakfast market. It was last year when the QSR chain created a stir in the local market when it announced plans to add locally-inspired offerings to its breakfast menu.
“McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in India in 1996. Since then it has always been successful as we had the ability to recognise the implications of unique Indian customer trends and preferences. Whether it was introducing McAloo Tikki, Maharaja Mac or Dosa Masala Brioche, McDonald’s has always kept innovating food as per the local taste palate and preferences,” says Amit Jatia, Vice Chairman, Westlife Development Ltd., the company that runs McDonald’s in West and South India.
Not only this, the breakfast habits of urban Indian consumers has been dominated by the age-old tradition of home-cooked breakfast with each region serving its own specialty and unique breakfast habits. Surprisingly, there is one common growth curve over the years – everyone across the country is steered towards healthier options. A sector which is almost more than 90% franchised offers lots of opportunity for expansion. As for example, IHOP, a long-standing chain that offers pancakes and American-style breakfast options.
“IHOP is 100% franchised globally. We work with great franchisees who share our passion for the brand and commitment to executing our standards of excellence in food and hospitality, every guest, every time,” says a company spokesperson. IHOP currently has an agreement with their franchise partner Kwals Catering Private Ltd in India that opened the first outlet in June 2017, and the agreement calls for 19 additional locations over the next eight years. All this is just the beginning even as an increasing number of local and foreign food brands gear up to make breakfast an exciting meal of the day.