McDonald's India, one of the leading food service retailers, is looking at setting up a food processing plant in West Bengal as it expands its business in eastern India.
The company has earmarked Rs 400 crore investment over the next 3 years, of which 70 percent would be in expansion of the brand's presence and introduction of new formats, while 30 percent of the investment would be in the back-end operations.
McDonald's has also set up a regional distribution centre in Kolkata, which would cater to the restaurants in and around the city.
"In eastern India, we are investing Rs 100 crore and aim to set 20 restaurants in the next three years," said Vikram Bakshi, managing director, Connaught Plaza Restaurants Private Limited, one of the two joint venture partners McDonald's has in India.
McDonald's would open its first outlet of eastern India in Kolkata on March 9 this year and is planning to have a total of three restaurants in Kolkata by the year-end. The outlet, with 155 seats, would be in place of Blue Fox restaurant, situated on Kolkata's Park Street.
Commenting on the new-look outlet, Bakshi said the wood and leather look of the store reflected global makeover of the food chain."McDonalds is moving away from the fast-food outlet image and aiming to become a restaurant that was classy and comfortable, and ous stores relfect that," he said.
"Although we entered India in 1996, it took us sometime to decide on Kolkata. This is because we follow the cluster model and we needed to put up a supplier hub in eastern India that could cater to at least 15 restaurants. Now that we have identified our business model in eastern India, we would expand in and around this region rapidly," said Bakshi.
Adopting the cluster approach, the company is identifying key locations within a 500-700km radius of Kolkata for further expansion in the region.
The expansion, besides creating employment opportunities for people in the state would also be generating opportunities for local sourcing of certain agricultural products via commercial farming.