Donuts in Delhi, Vadas in Vijaywada, Dunkin enters India

Donuts in Delhi, Vadas in Vijaywada, Dunkin enters India

In South India,  breakfast often consists of “Filter Coffee” and a  savory snack known as the  medu vada, a spicier equivalent of the Western doughnut. With the entry of Starbucks-like cafes, hundreds of sleek coffee shops serving freshly brewed cups of java and dessert, serving as  hangouts for the young and  the trendy. But the vada still reigns in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and to a limited sense in Kerala.

Medu Vada a breakfast snack in South India
Medu Vadas

So I am intrigued to see the latest entry into the India market: Dunkin’ Donuts., the American franchise chain with 97,000 outlets worldwide.  While they may have arrived after UK’s Costa Coffee and Italy’s Barista Lavazza restaurants, they plan to make a splash based on the number of projected restaurants – 500 in total. They will also race to launch their platform in advance of Starbucks, who recently announced their alliance with Tata Coffee Ltd.

To achieve this, Dunkin’ Donuts  has allied  with India’s , Jubilant FoodWorks and the launch date for the first few restaurants is planned for early 2012.  JFL already holds the master franchise rights for Domino Pizza in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The company will manage the Dunkin’ Donuts brand and restaurants in the same countries.

Most foreign brands which thrive in the Indian market are known to adapt to the local taste. An example is McDonald’s which splits its kitchen into “non-veg” and vegetarian and also offers a chicken based Maharaja Mac. Costa Coffee had to learn this the hard way, where after 5 years of floundering, they  readjusted their business strategy and can only now consider aggressive expansion plans.

I wonder if Dunkin’ Donuts will serve Medu Vadas from the get-go? Or will they hope Indians acquire a taste for sweet donuts?


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