Bun to Double Roti: How Indian 'Homegrown' burger brands are competing with global chains

Short Description
The Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 18% during 2021-2025 due to increasing urbanization, rapid expansion in food delivery services, expanding young & working population to name a few.
  • Nusra Deputy Features Editor
Burger

How many of you crave for the perfect cheese burger experience when you are stuck at home during these unprecedented times? Burger in India has taken many forms with passing of years. From creating the quintessential, crave-worthy cheeseburger experience, to the patties being freshly grilled, the way the burgers are carefully assembled; the main focus of all brands remain same, delivering authentic international flavours that hit the spot every single time. India tasted its first foreign burger in the late 1980s when UK-based QSR chain Wimpy entered Indian market by opening its first restaurant in Connaught Place, Delhi; and since then there is no turning back as we have seen brands like McDonald’s ruling Indian market like none other. From top global brands like Wendy’s, Carl’s Jt, Burger King to name a few to our very own home grown burger brands like Burger Singh, Wat-A-Burger, The Burger Club and Burgerama to name a few, burger has become Indian’s favourite go-to and grab on-the-go food item.

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Sailing through the pandemic

The pandemic has taught every single brand, restaurant ways to innovate and methods to keep them ahead of the trend. “We feel that brand trust and transparency of communication will play a huge role in influencing consumer’s choices and loyalty. We have already seen quality & hygiene having a deep impact on buying decisions and we feel this will lead to a period of consolidation in the industry. Only those that are straightforward, transparent, consistent and uncompromising in their brands will survive,” shared Kabir Bose of Burgerama that was started by three childhood friends Vivek Prakash & Viraaj Badhwar and Kabir Bose who share a common passion of good food.

Burgerama

The brand completely revamped their menu flow; by adding some incredible new dishes by making sure that the food is able to add just a little bit of joy to their customers’ days.

Though, the brands were sure that this is historically a period of adversity as these times will definitely yield some of the most groundbreaking ideas and businesses.

“We have been focusing more on tech integration in our operations. The pandemic has highlighted the much-needed tech transformation of the food and beverage industry. Also, at a QSR tech implementation plays a major role in the quality of service and management of the operations. Inventory softwares like Supplynote where we can keep live track of our inventory help us a lot,” pointed Farman Beig, Co-founder & CEO of Wat-a-Burger that is spread across 22 cities and 9 states serving 8,000+ delicious burgers on a daily basis.

The NCR-based burger chain with an idea to provide customers with burgers that are based on their preferred dish or flavor, for example, Tandoori Chicken makhani Burger, Aloo bechara, or Desi Street 2.0. “There are many brands in the market offering burgers, however, the products that we are serving are completely based on Indian taste,” added Beig who together with Rajat Jaiswal started Wat-a-Burger in 2016 with a sole mission to take fresh, delicious, yet affordable burgers to people.

Betting big on Delivery

Since, 2020 became the year of tech-innovation and delivery, not just brands like McDonald’s and Domino’s who are doing a big chunk of sale through delivery, home grown brands are also relying on delivery to catch the bigger segment in the market.

The Burger Club

 

According to reports, the consumption and sale of burgers went up by 9% pointing towards the culture of binge-watching while also enjoying your favorite thing to eat. Burgers are believed to be that one favorite food-item because they aren’t very heavy and hence can be eaten at multiple times while doing office work or while catching up on a movie or a show. A lot of time on the consumer’s hand is believed to be the reason behind the rise in the consumption of light yet tasty food option like a burger.

Also Read: Chinese and Burgers saw an uptake in the last 3.5 months, report

“We built a strong product and kept the quality consistent without any compromise throughout that lead us to better numbers and our sale went up just the sale construct kept fluctuating between dine in and delivery but the overall numbers kept growing,” said Jatinder Gill, Director, The Burger Club for whom delivery has become an important part mostly during lockdown.  Also, for him being dependent on third party for delivery was bit difficult to maintain the same quality but his team worked very well to serve the best to customers.

Meanwhile, Wat-A-Burger that has become the fastest homegrown burger brand in the country claims that it is 2nd to Dominos in terms of delivery area coverage in Delhi/NCR with 76% visibility. “We knew from the beginning that online delivery is going to be the main driver of the business for us. We have associated with all the major online restaurant aggregators and delivery partners including Zomato, Swiggy, Dotpe. In Delhi NCR, where we have a major presence, we cover almost 70 % of the area through online delivery platforms,” added Beig who get 30 percent of orders through walk-in and 70 percent through online delivery/orders.

Well, before pandemic could hit us, Burgerma was clear that delivery was the best possible way for their kind of a product to reach customers. “It was quite apparent in 2018 that restaurant footfalls were on a downward trend and the food delivery market was growing quite quickly especially when compared to any other segment in the food & beverage industry,” added Bose who get around 70% repeat users and is targeting 20k orders a month.

Flying High

As stats says it all, the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 18% during 2021-2025 due to increasing urbanization, rapid expansion in food delivery services, expanding young & working population, growing number of dual-income families and rising disposable income in the country. These chains are also planning to expand their wings by looking at newer markets, areas.

“After a being a well established and one of the best burger brand from top three burger brands in Delhi, we are planning to expand 50+ stores”, added Gill who is planning to enter Chandigarh, Kanpur, Hyderabad and Lucknow by the end of 2021.

Burgerama  that has raised a seed round of funding from group of entrepreneurs and strategic investors who share same passion and vision for the brand. They are using the capital to build their backend capacity and systems and further expand Burgerama across Delhi/NCR. “We are set to open our Noida outlet this month and plan on adding several more stores over the next 12 months. After NCR we hope to expand in the North region and then replicate the model in the West, South and East of India,” added Bose.

Wat a Burger

 

Similarly, Wat-A-Burger that has 60+ outlets in India is targeting to cross 100 outlets by the end of the current financial year. “At this moment, we are working on expanding our chain across Karnataka and Maharashtra,” added Beig who is witnessing around 4000 orders per day.

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Hence, we can say that the fast, made-for-delivery, easy to grab and most importantly loved by we Indian, the burger concept may see more explosion with more tailored-made menu and taste for the Indian market.

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