There’s nothing unusual about the seaside promenade at Carter Road in Mumbai’s suburb of Bandra on any given weekday evening. There’s the same old cool breeze blowing, carrying with it the scent of chilli and mayonnaise. There’s the same old brightly lit narrow lane off the promenade, packed with people, dogs, street vendors and fast food joints. Adding to kathi-roll king Carter’s Express and Café Coffee Day facing the sea are a smattering of recently opened QSRs such as Mad Over Donuts, Maroosh, Dumpling King and WOW Popcorn, making the locality the place to be for the peckish. After all, the hundreds flocking to the seafront are more in the mood for a quick bite than a fine dining experience. 23-year-old IT professional Robin Luthra, for instance, couldn’t care less whether her favourite snack chicken shawarma is a Lebanese dish or Chinese. “It doesn’t really matter. It’s the best thing available here,” she says, eyes fixed on the mayonnaise dripping off her roll. Maybe it is the quasi-global nature of the suburb or the migrant urban professionals that populate it, but the popularity of QSRs serving up world cuisines has shot up recently. At the very least, it could be why an August 2015 report by Technopak on the food service market in India pegged the size of the QSR market at Rs.272,680 crore in 2014, projecting a figure of Rs.423,140 crore by 2020 at a CAGR of 8%.
With an eye on the evolving palate of Indian consumers thanks to travel, serial restaurateur Ketan Kadam in September 2000 founded Maroosh, a brand owned by Impresa Hospitality Management, which offers bite-sized Lebanese and west Asian specials. Chicken dishes make up nearly 70% of Maroosh’s menu, which offers items such as kebabs, curries, rice, shawarmas and wraps, all priced between Rs.145-250. The Mumbai-based company has an average sales-per-store of Rs.10 lakh-12 lakh per month, with an Ebitda margin of 13%. Kadam, who was in the past a stakeholder in Impresa’s Two One Two Bar and Grill and Café Sundance, sold his stake in the two in order to focus on Maroosh’s growth. And if research is to be believed, there is more than enough scope for that. According to Technopak, 65% of QSR audiences are less than 35 years of age. Factors such as increas