US Set To Widen Our Waistlines: American FnB Brands Launch In India


McDonalds’ Burgers, Fries and Coke

America, the infamous land of excess; where a single portion of food can feed a small family of Indians. We all know  the spell of abundance that this super-power casts on the third world. Remember Adam and Eve? And that serpent with a red juicy apple? In the modern world America keeps showing us this big red juicy apple, which puts all our average size, less shapely, desi apples to shame. And we like that unfortunate couple gravitate towards the big shiny fruit, forgetting the perils it brings with it. We’re only human.

McDonalds was probably the first big food brand to make its way to Mumbai in the late 1990s, tempting us with happy meals. We celebrated children’s birthday parties with Ronald and guzzled cola after cola unaware of the trap we were caught in. Today, more that a decade after, McDonalds has become a staple at every mall, outside every railway station and in every busy area. With this, India’s waistline increases.

Widening Waistlines

A basic burger costs a humble Rs.25, which is in the same price bracket as a plate of steamed idlis at a local udipi joint. For an 16yr old college student, with a little bit of pocket money, the choice isn’t hard to make. The latest for McDonalds: They plan to open stores near all pilgrimage sites! That’s right, you will soon be able to eat a burger (vegetarian of course) at the base of Vaishao Devi. Indeed a symbolic victory for the satanic serpent!

Mumbai’s food habits have greatly changed since this first wave of the American fast food invasion. Dominos, Pizza Hut, KFC etc have become household names. As we get more comfortable with the ways of the west, we are driven more by greed and less by need.


Mumbai has very warmly welcomed the coffee-shop culture. It seems to suit the face paced mood of the city, where business decisions are made over a quick cup of coffee and late work nights are fueled by caffeine. The big brother of the coffee world has taken notice.

Starbucks, America’s most iconic brand is set to open 50 outlets in India by the end of the year, in collaboration with Tata. Mumbai’s first Starbucks outpost will be at Horniman circle. In the midst of heritage buildings that remind us of the British Raj, will be the new flag of the American Fast Food Empire, Starbucks Coffee.

In the Huffington post, R.K. Krishnakumar, Vice Chairman of Tata Global Beverages quotes, “In some ways the distinctions between the developed world and the developing world are blurring.” I’m sure the ‘developed’ world has much to offer, but we’ve got to be wary while we enjoy its offerings, making sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves or lose our cultural identities.

Dunkin Donuts

After the success of local donut brands like Mad Over Donuts, it isn’t a surprise that well known American donut brands are knocking on our doors. Mumbai loves this ‘fat-cop food’. Dunkin Donuts has already opened its first store in New Delhi, and we can expect one in Mumbai very soon. Krispy Kreme has tied up with local hospitality group Citymax India. They plan 80 outlets in western and southern parts of India alone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I won’t be one of those shouting hate slogans outside Starbucks. I will probably make my way all the way from the suburbs to fort to see what the fuss is about. I’m sure I’ll enjoy glazed donuts and a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning. American brands come here because they see a market. What I do mourn though, is that many unknowingly get lured away from local produce and regional food. Before you know it, our food habits are dictated by some rich American dude, who fills his pockets while we fill out our pants.

Post By Salonee Gadgil (86 Posts)

I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.

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Salonee Gadgil

Salonee Gadgil
I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.