India just can’t get enough pizza

Hungry Kya?
Hungry Kya?
Image: Reuters
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India now has an insatiable appetite for pizzas. And, Domino’s is riding high on the subcontinent’s love for fast food.

India is now the American pizza maker’s second biggest market, the Economic Times newspaper reported today. It has 818 Domino’s Pizza restaurants, the second highest in the world.

United Kingdom, which was the second biggest market for Domino’s till recently, has 790 stores. The US, on the other hand, is way ahead of both countries, with 5,000 stores.

But India is catching up. Jubilant FoodWorks, the company that runs Domino’s India, is planning to set up nearly 2,000 stores in the country by 2020.

While the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company is the undisputed Pizza leader in India, with nearly 70% of the market share, its rival—Pizza Hut—is also recording impressive growth figures.

According to Yum Brands annual reports, India and China are their most promising markets. The Kentucky-based company had 367 Pizza Hut stores in India in 2013—adding over 50 stores since 2012.  The fast food brand, which also owns KFC and Taco Bells, aims to open another 150 restaurants in India by the end of 2014.

Exploding market

India is the only country in the world where Domino’s is twice the size of burger chain McDonald’s, Ajay Singh, CEO of Jubilant FoodWorks told ET. They make and sell 120 million pizzas in India—almost twice the number of burgers McDonald’s sells.

But irrespective of type, foreign food brands have come to dominate India’s rapidly-growing quick service restaurants (QSRs) market. Despite the economic slowdown, the QSR industry is expected to double to Rs 70 billion ($1.1 billion) in 2015-16  from Rs 34 billion in 2012-13, according to a report by Crisil Research.

This growth would be seen in both big cities and smaller town, called tier two or tier three cities. An increase in nuclear families and working women, steady growth in incomes, changing lifestyle and eating patterns and a greater accessibility of QSR outlets, has been driving the sector’s expansion in Asia’s third largest economy.