Economic Times reports:
Burdened with a name and an international legacy that's enough to drive away a third of Indian consumers who happen to be vegetarian, KFC is desperately repositioning itself as any other fast food chain serving "irresistibly tasty food" and not just chicken. Its research showed that nearly 97% of urban Indians eat out in groups of three or more, and at least one of them a vegetarian, would mind going to a place that specialised in non-vegetarian food.
I'm sorry, this makes no sense to me.
McDonald's stands for burgers and fries. Subway for sandwiches and Pizza Hut for pizza. These places can attract vegetarians by having separate cooking/ assembly areas. But KFC stands for chicken. You can shorten your name to KFC but the C still stands for chicken.
This is the very reason it's had to much success, in countries like China. A country where KFC is opening 250 outlets every year! As Time magazine notes:
KFC outlets outnumber Golden Arches by more than 3 to 2 in the mainland... Part of KFC's triumph can be attributed to its first-mover advantage. At the same time, KFC had something other than the novelty factor going for it—the main item on the menu was familiar to Chinese. "You don't have to be a genius to sell chicken in China," says Jim Bryant, who brought Subway sandwich shops to China.
Getting back to India. Yes, we have a lot of vegetarians. A recent CNN IBN-Hindu poll placed the 'veg' population at 31%. Another 9% will eat only egg from the non-veg list.
That leaves 60% of the population which eats non-veg. And chicken is a universal favourite.
I hear what the research is saying. But the idea of ordering veg pulav at a Kentucky Fried Chicken, according to a young colleague, is like asking a Demonic Resurrection fan about Ravi Shankar's cassette!
What's more, this guy has been a loyal KFC customer in the Gulf (he still salivates over their all-you-can-eat-for-20dhs offer). But he's none too happy with his Indian KFC experience.
"When you bite into the chicken leg you would expect a certain amount of meat to be seen, the white fleshy part but no, instead you hit the bone. THERE IS NO FLESH ON THIS ONE..."
There could be a pricing issue as well. 4 pieces of chicken, coleslaw and two cold drinks cost 275 bucks.
If I were KFC I would concentrate on this core audience. Nahin to woh murga bhi haath se nikal jayega...!
Because vegetarians like me are unlikely to walk in there and order that veg pulao. The big problem I have - which I am sure turns on chicken lovers - is the smell. So much fried chicken under one roof, with people going crunch-crunch-crunch does nothing for my appetite. Especially when there are so many other options!