Indian Fast Food
The fast food industry in India has evolved with the changing lifestyles of the young Indian population. The sheer variety of gastronomic preferences across the regions, hereditary or acquired, has brought about different modules across the country. It may take some time for the local enterprise to mature to the level of international players in the field.
Many of the traditional dishes have been adapted to suit the emerging fast food outlets. The basic adaptation is to decrease the processing and serving time. For example, the typical meal which called for being served by an ever alert attendant is now offered as a Mini-Meal across the counter. In its traditional version, a plate or a banana leaf was first laid down on the floor or table. Several helpers then waited on the diner, doling out different dishes and refilling as they got over in the plate.
In the fast food version, a plate already arranged with a variety of cooked vegetables and curries along with a fixed quantity of rice and Indian flatbreads is handed out across the counter against a prepaid coupon. The curries and breads vary depending on the region and local preferences. The higher priced ones may add a sweet to the combination. Refills are generally not offered.
The diversity of Indian cuisine poses logistical problems when it comes to handling. Hence it is common to serve different cuisines at different counters within the same premises. Presence of a large vegetarian population, who eschew non-vegetarian food, has given rise to outlets which exclusively serve vegetarian fast food. Also, different variety of food may be served depending on the times of the day. Beverages such coffee, tea, soft drinks and fruit juices may also be served in such outlets. Some outlets may additionally have specially designed counters for ice-cream, chaats etc.
Popular formats of fast food business in India have the following features in common:
- Wide opening on the road side
- Easy to maintain and durable décor
- A cash counter where food coupons are sold
- A food delivery counter which invariably is granite topped
- Additional counters for Ice Creams, Chaats, Beverages etc.
- A well fitted kitchen located so as to be visible to the customers
- Tall tables, usually of stainless steel, where one can eat while standing
- A drinking water fountain adorned with a water filter
- Rust-proof and non-breakable crockery
Most of the fast food outlets in India are stand alone establishment, few of them having more than one branch.
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