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Reuters/Yves Herman
More burgers, please.
LOCALISATION

McDonald’s is going all out to woo Indian taste buds

By Suneera Tandon

More Indian flavours are finding their way into McDonald’s menu.

After products like Aloo-Tikki Burger, Masala Dosa Brioche, and Anda Bhurjithe fast-food chain is ready with two more offerings to woo Indians: Chatpata-Naan, and Italian and Mexican rice bowls.

The Chatpata-Naan—potato patty or chicken kebab wrapped in roti (Indian flour-bread) served with sauces—was introduced last September as a pilot. It will now become a permanent fixture on its menu, the company said in a statement on April 03. These will be available across its 271 stores in south and west India, Amit Jatia, vice-chairman of Westlife Development, which runs McDonald’s outlets in these regions, told Quartz.

McDonald’s had also introduced Mexican and Italian rice bowls last October. These, too, are now being served across its stores in parts of south India, a sizeable rice-eating region, apart from cities of Pune and Mumbai.

The restaurant chain runs close to 450 outlets in India through two local partners. Since 2014, it’s been embroiled in a legal tussle with Connaught Plaza Restaurants, which manages its stores in north and east India. This has hit its business in half of the country where these new offerings won’t be available.

Meanwhile, localisation has been a big part of the chain’s two-decade-long presence in India. “We have taken flavours local to India and tried to introduce them to our global menu,” said Jatia.

The chain first introduced the popular Aloo-Tikki burger in the 1990s aimed at the country’s large vegetarian population. Last year it introduced the “Masala Dosa Brioche,” a take on the south Indian staple, the masala dosa. Then there is anda bhurji, i.e. scrambled eggs served with a bun, introduced in 2017 as well, as part of its breakfast menu.

This latest upgrade comes as part of McDonald’s menu overhaul in India, which includes making dishes healthier. The firm says it has reduced sodium content across patties, sauces, and fries by 20%. Fat content, too, has been brought down, McDonald’s said in a statement. The wraps, will now be made of whole-grain wheat.