Johannesburg: South African fast food group 'Famous Brands' has announced its expansion into India with the launch of its maiden Debonairs Pizza restaurant scheduled for opening in Mumbai in July this year.
Five restaurants will be opened in Mumbai in the short term, the group said in a statement.
The decision had been driven by the fact that Mumbai was India's main economic hub and its wealthiest city, featuring the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia, it said.
Famous Brands has signed a Master License agreement with family-owned Diwa Hospitality Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the Parekh Group conglomerate, which was founded 50 years ago and specialises in shipping, logistics and hospitality, to manage the business on its behalf.
"Entering the Indian market is as much about our partners as it is about the market. They will give us local knowledge advantage which is critical to the sustainability of this venture," said Famous Brands COO Darren Hele.
"Whilst Debonairs Pizza is Africa's biggest pizza brand and the Group is confident of exporting the concept, in-depth research has shown that the model must be relevant from day one, and be re-engineered to fit the Indian market.
"In this regard, our Debonairs Pizza offering in Mumbai is all about a customised menu with a strong vegetarian bias; local flavour profiles developed in conjunction with our partners; and innovative product offerings designed to support the cost conscious 'grab-and-go' Mumbai consumer," he said.
Hele said the company had received investment enquiries from a range of emerging market countries but had selected India for several key reasons.
"There are very strong factors driving growth in the food services industry in India, including a general increase in disposable income; intensified urbanisation; and the exponential growth in the population segment most likely to consume processed food - the 5 to 35 year age group - which is projected to grow to 51 percent of the total population by 2020.
Yogesh Parekh, Director of Diwa Hospitality, said his company had decided in 2012 to tie up with a restaurant operator who had an understanding of the huge potential of the Indian restaurant market; a partner who recognises that India is unlike any other market in Asia Pacific or the United Arab Emirates.
"Famous Brands shares our optimism for the growth potential in this market, and our local knowledge and insight together with the meticulously customised Debonairs Pizza offering ensures the brand has every opportunity to become a household name," he said.
Hele said Famous Brands was optimistic that the success of the Mumbai venture would pave the way for expansion into other areas of India.
Debonairs Pizza currently has 345 restaurants in South Africa and a further 60 restaurants in 14 other African countries.
First Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 12:02