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15 Fastest Growing QSR Chains in India

In this article, we discuss 15 fastest growing QSR chains in India. You can skip our detailed analysis of QSR chains in India and their performance over the years, and go directly to read 5 Fastest Growing QSR Chains in India

The Indian food industry has transformed significantly over the past few years, with several restaurants growing from street vendors to multibillion-dollar businesses. The success of the industry can be attributed to the rising popularity of dining out, favorable demographics, increasing disposable income, and more working women. As a result, organized players have expanded beyond metros to small villages and cities.

Emerging markets in Tier II and III cities in India are presenting significant revenue opportunities for businesses, especially in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry, as these cities are becoming new financial hubs. Although QSR brands have been present in India for decades, the market has undergone significant changes, and there is tremendous potential for success in these markets.

The QSR industry is rapidly growing due to an increase in purchasing power and a preference for branded products. Setting up units in these areas is cheaper than in metropolitan cities, providing advantages such as lower rental and operational costs, less competition, and a talent pool. QSR restaurants focus on quickly serving food and use ready-to-cook ingredients.

“QSR brands have great potential for success in tier II and III cities as they are emerging markets for fast food chains,” says Kabir Jeet Singh, CEO and Founder of Burger Singh.

Raw materials are prepared at a centralized location to ensure consistency in taste across different outlets. Industry experts suggest implementing a tier-wise pricing strategy to sustain these businesses and earn higher margins. Rajat Agarwal, CEO of Barista, notes that engaging with brands is still aspirational in smaller towns, making location selection critical for a steady flow of business.

In India, there are about 490 QSR brands, of which 428 are currently functioning, and this segment has attracted investments worth $1.3 billion through 64 deals. However, QSR companies need to adjust their business models to harness the true potential of these cities, including implementing a tier-wise pricing strategy based on consumer and city type. Despite the challenges, with reverse migration, the opportunity for QSR businesses is immense. The pandemic has also influenced the QSR industry’s work culture, creating a new market ripe with opportunity.

Organized QSR market players focus on customer retention and a higher range of offerings. The QSR industry now offers comfort cuisine, meeting the aspirational needs of both price-sensitive and high-income consumers. Leading international brands dominate the QSR market, contributing ~53% of the total revenue. During the pandemic, standalone and unorganized players bore the impact of the lockdown, and incremental demand was diverted to QSR and other affordable formats of the chain market, leading to capacity contraction.

QSR market in India is segmented into dine-in, take-away, and home delivery. In FY 2022, dine-in had the highest share (44.23%). But in the future, the take-away and home delivery segments are expected to grow significantly and have a higher market share of ~21.25% and ~40.81%, respectively, in FY 2027 as compared to dine-in.

ResearchAndMarkets.com’s “Quick Service Restaurant Market in India 2023” report estimates that India’s QSR market will be worth USD 16.72 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.2% to reach USD 32.22 billion by 2028. Key players in the market include Jubilant FoodWorks, Adyar Ananda Bhavan, Cafe Coffee Day, and Monginis.

Our Methodology

We first defined quick service restaurant as a food service outlet that serves fast food meals quickly that customers can eat at the location, get delivered at their home/office or take out. Although many restaurants now offer online food delivery services and some are online-only, we considered restaurant brands with physical outlets.

We considered that the best way to measure a restaurant’s growth is looking at its store footprint. In this regard, we selected restaurant brands with at least 50 outlets currently and have plans to add more locations in the future. Working along these parameters, we whittled down out a long list of fastest-growing quick-service restaurants to these 15 brands.

15. Rebel Foods 

Number of Outlets: 90 

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS)-backed Rebel Foods primarily runs an online restaurant business. It operates so-called cloud kitchens that exclusively process food for delivery. The cloud kitchen strategy enables restaurant brands to serve large areas with only a single kitchen location, thereby saving on real-estate costs.

Rebel Foods has about a dozen cloud kitchens across India, which serve its own restaurant brands such as Faasos and Behrouz Biryani, as well as third-party restaurants.

In a diversification move, Rebel Foods has entered the physical restaurant market also. It took over the operation of Wendy’s restaurants in India, inheriting 90 outlets across 19 cities. Rebel Foods plans to open additional 150 Wendy’s restaurants over the next decade. Wendy’s entered the Indian QSR market in 2015 and only had four restaurants in the country by 2016.

Before acquiring Wendy’s outlets, Rebel Foods initially struck a deal to provide cloud kitchen services to Wendy’s for the burger chain’s food delivery business.

In addition to Goldman, Rebel Foods is also counts Qatar Investment Authority, Sequoia Capital, Coatue, and Evolvence among its investors. Rebel Foods was valued at $1.4 billion following a Series F investment round in 2021.

14. Burger Singh

Number of Outlets: 100 

Burger Singh operates fast-food locations serving burgers. Burger Singh restaurants are famous for their big, bold burgers with Indian flavors. The business was started by a team of burger enthusiasts who wanted to offer cheap but large burgers with a great taste.

Burger Singh operates more than 100 outlets across 50 cities in India. It targets to reach 1,000 outlets by 2026. The chain’s first restaurant location launched in 2014.

Burger Singh raised about $3.7 million in Series A funding in 2022 to accelerate its expansion. The burger chain is backed by Lets ventures, Negen Capital, and singer Jasleen Royal.

13. Drunken Monkey 

Number of Outlets: 131 

Inspired by Starbucks Corp (NASDAQ:SBUX) coffee chain business, Drunken Monkey operates a chain of smoothie bars in dozens of cities across India. The business started in 2016 in Hyderabad.

Drunken Monkey offers blended fresh-fruit smoothies at its locations. It also sells coffee blends and milkshakes as secondary products. The chain uses locally sourced natural ingredients to make its products. That strategy promotes local businesses and also ensures healthy serving for customers. Indeed, Drunken Monkey is trying to appeal to the health-conscious beverage market.

Drunken Monkey sees a huge market opportunity ahead considering that it targets an undeserved segment. The global smoothies market is on track to expand to $17 billion by 2027, from $12 billion in 2021.

From only four locations in its first year, Drunken Monkey has expanded its chain to more than 130 outlets across 43 cities. Before the pandemic, the company had targeted to have 500 in a few years.

12. Chai Point

Number of Outlets: 170 

Chai Point operates a chain of tea-based beverages. The chain was founded in 2010 by former Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) engineer and Harvard MBA Amuleek Singh.

In addition to the dine-in locations, Chai Point delivers packaged tea drinks to customers who order online. Moreover, the company distributes its tea drinks through vending machines at strategic locations, such as corporate office blocks.

The tea drinking market in India is large, but it is dominated by inform vendors. Chai Point targets the premium market segment where it sees a massive growth opportunity. Moreover, focusing on the premium market spares Chai Point direct pricing competition with mass market vendors. By 2022, Chai Point was selling about 600,000 cups of beverage a day annually.

Chai Point operates 170 outlets. It plans to more than double its store footprint to 325 by 2024. Additionally, the chain has about 4,000 automated vending stops. As it opens more stores, Chai Point also plans to expand its vending network.

Chai Point is backed by several institutional investors, including Auctus Capital, Eight Road Ventures, Saama Capital, and DSG Consumer Partners.

11. Goli Vada Pav

Number of Outlets: 300 

Founded in Mumbai in 2004, Goli Vada Pav operates a chain of quick service food outlets across India. The chain is famous for its vadapavs. Goli runs more than 300 outlets across 100 cities. Its restaurants offer several dozen menu items.

Goli launched its first outlet in the Mumbai suburb of Kalyan. In 2011, Goli raised about $2.6 million from VenturEast to support its expansion. But it struggled to expand in Mumbai initially to the point of putting the plan of setting up additional stores on hold.

When Goli eventually started rolling out stores, it expanded rapidly and at one point ranked as India’s fourth-largest fast-food chain.

10. Barista

Number of Outlets: 350 

Barista operates a chain of coffeehouses and coffee cafes. Founded in 2000, Barista is considered India’s oldest coffee chain.

The chain’s ownership has changed multiple times since its inception. In 2001, Tata Coffee purchased a stake of 35% in the business from the founding owner Barista Coffee Company. In 2004, Sterling Infotech Group acquired the remaining 65% stake in the coffee chain. Sterling went on to purchase Tata Coffee’s 35% in the business to assume its full ownership.

Sterling, which operated a coffee roaster in Chennai, supplied coffee for Barista’s restaurants. In 2007, Sterling exited Barista, selling the business together with its Chennai roaster to the Italian company Lavazza. Consequently, Barista went on to be called Barista Lavazza.

Lavazza operated Barista until 2014 when it sold the coffee chain to Boutonniere Hospitality, though it continued to be its coffee supplier.

Barista operates 300 outlets in India. The chain is also available in Sri Lanka where it has 19 outlets and aims to reach 50 outlets by 2024. Barista aims to reach a global network of 1,000 stores by 2025.

9. Restaurant Brands Asia (NSE:RBA)

Number of Outlets: 379 outlets

Founded in 2013, Restaurant Brands Asia (NSE:RBA) operates Burger King branded food service outlets in India. The company previously operated under the name of Burger King India. Private equity firm Everstone Capital owns a large equity stake in RBA, though it has been reported to be considering selling its interest in the business.

RBA has a network of 631 outlets, consisting of 379 Burger King restaurants and 252 Burger King cafes. It continues to expand its network, opening 45 restaurants in 2022. It aimed to have 700 restaurants by 2026.

8. Westlife Foodworld Ltd (NSE:WESTLIFE) 

Number of Outlets: 588 outlets 

Westlife Foodworld Ltd (NSE:WESTLIFE) operates McDonald’s Corp (NYSE:MCD) brand quick service restaurants in the west and south regions of India. The company was previously called Westlife Development. In addition to full-service McDonald’s restaurants, the company also operates McCafé.

Westlife Foodworld operates 326 McDonald’s outlets and 262 McCafé locations, for a total of 588 locations. It plans to open 250 – 300 McDonald’s outlets over the next 5 years.

Westlife Foodworld has been opening 23 – 24 new stores annually. The new expansion plan shows it aims to open 40 – 55 stores annually over the next several years. In the long run, Westlife Foodworld aims to have a chain network of 1,000 outlets.

7. Subway India

Number of Outlets: 595

Subway is a global fast-food restaurant brand known for offering submarine sandwiches. The brand entered the Indian market in 2001.

When it entered India, Subway adjusted its menu ingredients to appeal to the country’s mostly vegetarian consumers. The chain expanded rapidly in its early years, extending its store network to more cities.

Subway now operates about 595 outlets across more than 150 cities. The chain aims to have 2,000 stores over the next decade. But Subway may chart its future under a different owner. The sandwich chain is seeking a buyer and has hired American banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) to advise it on the sale process. The business could be valued at more than $10 billion in a sale.

At some point, Reliance Retail was rumored to be considering a purchase of Subway India for between $200 million and $250 million. But Reliance ended up striking a deal to launch British sandwich brand Pret A Manger in India.

6. Devyani International

Number of Outlets: 655 

Devyani International is one of the Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) franchisees in India. It runs fast-food restaurants under KFC and Pizza Hut brands. It also operates Costa Coffee and Vaango outlets.

In addition to India, Devyani also operates fast-food restaurants in Nepal and Nigeria. Devyani has a network of 655 restaurant locations across India and 1,000 outlets in all its markets. The chain aims to double its store footprint to 2,000 outlets by 2026.


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Disclosure: None. 15 Fastest Growing QSR Chains in India is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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