Chicago: Taco Bell has set its sights on bringing more Mexican food to India, the third-largest consumer market in the world, as the fast food chain seeks new drivers of growth outside of the slowing US market.
The Yum! Brands Inc. unit is planning 600 restaurants in the Asian nation over the next decade with master franchisee Burman Hospitality. That’s a big step up for the chain, which currently has 35 locations in India.
“The Mexican category is finally becoming known around the world," Liz Williams, president of Taco Bell International, said in an interview. India is the “perfect intersection of a youthful, vibrant, diverse culture that fits really well with the Taco Bell brand."
While Taco Bell says it still has room to grow in its home market, the US is becoming saturated with restaurants, pushing brands to increasingly look abroad. The burrito seller recently opened its doors in London and is planning to add its first stores in Indonesia and Portugal this year.
Those expansions will help it reach its goal of 9,000 units and $15 billion in system sales by 2022, Williams said. The chain currently has roughly 7,500 locations globally.
The Indian locations offer new items like taco shells made out of hash brown potatoes, and cater to local tastes with products like paneer and tikka masala burritos.
“We see so much opportunity in India, as it is still a largely untapped market for Taco Bell," Ankush Tuli, managing director for Taco Bell APAC, said in a company statement.