Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Western Fast Food in India

This is a rather disappointing thing to read in the New York Times (registration required), just after my previous post about relishing the prospect of food from Bombay.

When the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet opened in India, in the technology hub of Bangalore in 1995, the welcoming committee was largely absent. It was just four years after India opened its economy to outsiders, and the outlet quickly became a target of irate farmers, Hindu nationalists and others decrying what they saw as the encroachment of the corrupt, and corruptive, West.

KFC's parent, Yum Brands, now has 100 KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in India, 30 opened in 2004, and a goal of 1,000 by 2014. To realize such growth, the chains have begun a seemingly inexorable march into the country's smaller boomtowns, cities like Coimbatore and Cochin in the south, and Jaipur and Meerut in the north, where middle-class Indians - who increasingly crave localized Western foods, regional flavors and ingredients infused into the pizza, pasta or poultry - have hailed their arrival.

Yum Brands!

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