Famous Brands enters India with Debonairs Pizza

JSE-listed Famous Brands has announced its expansion into India, with a pilot Debonairs Pizza restaurant set to open in Mumbai in July 2013.

In the short-term, five restaurants will be opened in Mumbai, India's main economic hub and its wealthiest city.

Famous Brands said Mumbai had the highest gross domestic product of any city in south, west or central Asia and it has appointed a master licence partner in the territory to manage the business.

"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 Chief Operating Officer, Darren Hele, in a statement.

The Master License agreement has been concluded with family-owned Diwa Hospitality Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the Parekh Group conglomerate.

"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," Hele said. "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. It is also about a bespoke trading format which factors in that access to retail trading space in high density markets such as this are at a premium.

"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 five to 35 year age group - which is projected to grow to 51 percent of the total population by 2020."

"In addition," Hele added, "Pizza currently accounts for the biggest share of the QSR market in India and is the fastest growing segment. The QSR market is expected to grow from $15 billion (2011) to $50 billion in 2020, at a faster rate than even the Chinese market."

Famous Brands, whose portfolio also includes Wimpy and Steers, operates a model combining franchising, logistics and manufacturing.

The Group has 2,048 restaurants across South Africa, Southern Africa and the UK and outlets in more than 15 African countries including Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia.

Debonairs Pizza currently trades out of 345 restaurants in South Africa and a further 60 restaurants in 14 other African countries.

Image: © debonairspizza.co.za

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