Business Today

Burger Queen

McCafes, Belgian waffles, masala dosa burger also on the menu... foodies are lovin' it
twitter-logoSumant Banerji | Print Edition: October 4, 2020
Burger Queen
Smita Jatia, Managing Director, Hardcastle Restaurants

A visit to McDee's was always about burgers and French fries. But things changed when Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd, the franchise partner of the Big Mac in western and southern India, added to its menu to include breakfast items and the McCafe, among a host of other things. "The coffee drinker was a client who wasn't coming to us. Now he/she does," says Smita Jatia, Managing Director, Hardcastle Restaurants. "The consumer is changing everyday and the menu should reflect that."

There are currently around 223 McCafes in India, with 33 added last year. New breakfast menus including Belgian waffles and masala dosa burger with whole wheat bun have also proved to be successful. Another big area of growth has been home delivery, where sales have more than doubled in the last one year. The firm has added 48 McDelivery hubs in the process. Jatia's move has added to McDonalds revenues in the country. Westlife Development, the holding company for the business, delivered double-digit growth in top and bottomline for 2019/20, even as the last quarter was partially scuppered by the pandemic. The current situation is gloomy, but Jatia is no stranger to adversity. Having seen her share of crests and troughs, she says being adaptable and agile are the two most important traits in business. "Building and sustaining a business is about continuously creating transient advantages. So be adaptable, be agile and be open to changes and move with the fast-changing times to metamorphose into something amazingly different every three-five years."

Having been at the helm of the company for a decade now, she still considers the moment when she was elevated to the corner room as her most memorable. "I was attending a meeting of global leaders in 2010 and sitting in a room with 200 people. Suddenly I heard my name being called out... It took me some time to grasp that at that moment the global COO had announced my appointment as the managing director of McDonalds India," she reminisces.

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