Home / Companies / American burger chain Carl's Jr. to start Indian journey on 8 Aug

New Delhi: Carl’s Jr., a burger chain known as much for its charbroiled burgers as for its ads featuring models such as Paris Hilton, Padma Lakshmi, Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton and Nina Agdal (perhaps more for the latter in markets where the burger chain doesn’t exist), will open its first outlet in Saket, a South Delhi neighbourhood, on 8 August.

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., which owns the chain, has appointed Gurgaon-based Cybiz BrightStar Restaurants Pvt. Ltd as its local franchisee. Over the next five years, CKE plans to open 100 Carl’s Jr. outlets across India. The ultimate aim is to have 1,000 outlets over 15 years.

“Carl’s Jr. will be introducing a specially designed menu dedicated to the Indian palate along with unique offerings such as beer on tap and an all-you-can-drink soft beverages bar," the company said in a statement.

Ned Lyerly, president (international), CKE Restaurants Holdings, said the company has been studying the Indian market for more than four years.

“We have made every effort to ensure that our Indian customers enjoy the same premium quality experience that we are known for globally. We have developed a dedicated menu for India which includes an extensive vegetarian selection. Our food is made fresh to order with healthy premium ingredients and we take great pride in offering best in class customer service," said Lyerly.

The Californian burger chain joins the race with the world’s second largest burger chain Burger King, which formed a joint venture with private equity fund Everstone Capital in 2013 and has 20 outlets in India.

Its rival Fatburger opened its first outlet in Gurgaon, near Delhi, last year and has plans to open about 25 stores. Apart from these, California-based Johnny Rocket started Indian operations in January 2014 with plans to have 20 outlets by 2018.

South Africa-based Barcelos opened its first store in March with plans to have about 20 outlets in three years. Wendy’s, the Ohio, America-based burger chain, also opened its first store in May, aiming to scale up to 20 stores in a few years.

Carl’s Jr. plans to spend about $25 million in the first five years on brand development and expansion. It is likely to raise about $20 million from private equity investors.

Carl’s Jr. will not serve beef burgers in India, and the vegetarian burgers that it will sell in India will be the first of their kind in the company’s history.

Retail consultancy Technopak estimates the Indian food service market to be worth $92 billion by 2020 from $48 billion in 2013. Of this, the $3-billion chain restaurant segment is expected to see the fastest growth rate of 15% and be worth $8 billion by 2020.

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