Fast-food chain Taco Bell is embarking on an expansion drive in India and plans to open outlets in up to 12 cities in next four years.
Owned by the US-based Yum! Restaurants, Taco Bell specialises in Mexican food. At present operates nine stores in three cities plans to add three more outlets taking the number to 12 by year-end.
The company has partnered with the promoter family of Dabur, the Burmans whose firm Burman Hospitality has taken the franchise for north and some southern markets such as Karnataka and Telangana.
“Our initial focus will be the top metros and their neighbouring cities. We are already present in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. These three are important markets,” Taco Bell India Managing Director Ankush Tuli told PTI.
Taco Bell plans to enter cities such as Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Pune, Ahmadabad, he said adding that “we are looking to 10 to 12 cities between now and 2020”.
The company plans to have multiples stores at big cities.
“In a place like Chandigarh, we would like to have 2 to 3 stores. Places like Bangalore could take 10 to 15 stores,” he said adding Taco Bell is operating three stores in Bangalore and would add one more by the end of this year.
When asked whether the company is open for more franchise partners in India, he said: “We are open. Generally in a market like India, two to three partners work.”
He, however, said in the near term and large part of the growth would be with the Burmans as “they are our preferred partners”.
Taco Bell is also tweaking and adapting some local flavours in its menu to suit Indian palate.
“We have now tikka masala burrito. We are among the few global markets of Taco Bell which has an R&D facility. The entire vegetarian range is made for India as we do not have vegetarian out side much of India,” said Tuli.
He further added that by the end of this year, Taco Bell would completely source raw materials and the equipment locally.
“By the end of this year, our 100 per cent sourcing would be local both in terms of food and equipment,” he added.