Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee brand, came to India last August and its expansion strategy also includes customised regional food on its menu, seeking to differentiate itself from competitors.
It serves makhni pasta and will soon offer pinwheel samosas and baida roti cigar rolls as it moves to west India and Mumbai after focusing on the north.
“India is a very different market in terms of the choices and taste preferences, so when we launched in India, there’s a lot of work which went into the backend, to kind of put forward a menu which has got decent amount of variety and lot of local adaptations,” said Tarun Jain, CEO, Tim Hortons India.
“When we launched in the north, we had makhni pasta for example, which was more suited to the localities there. Now, when we are coming to Mumbai, we have added a couple of products like a samosa and a baida roll which is more in sync with the local taste preferences in Mumbai.”
Starbucks India, another coffee chain, recently increased Indian options on its menu. It added masala chai, elaichi chai, milkshakes, pre-packed sandwiches and other food items.
Tim Hortons’ cheapest food item in India is Timbits or donut holes priced at ₹39.
Jain believes that Tim Hortons has entered the Indian market at the right time. “I think this is a great time to enter India.” The company is considering tier one markets for expansion now. The chain has 13 stores in North India.
“The cafe market is really imploding with the opportunity. So, I think it’s a great time to be into the market,” says Jain, “The demand is growing at a great pace. I think cafes have outperformed the F&B industry in India and I think coffee houses are probably the largest share of that growth.”
According to IMARC Group, the India pub, bar, cafe and lounge (PBCL) market is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 13.3 per cent during 2023-2028.
India’s PBCL market, the report points out, has been witnessing healthy growth due to people’s increasing need to socialise and get together with their peers in eateries offering unique ambiance, entertainment, and a variety of food and beverages.
‘The primary factor driving the India pub, bar, cafe and lounge market is the growing disposable incomes across the country. Moreover, brands are increasingly focusing on factors such as varied food offerings, ambience, and customer engagement to ensure the longevity and strength of their businesses and create a niche for this segment,’ the report said.
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