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McDonald's to hit highways soon

March 02, 2006 15:05 IST

This is something owners of roadside dhabas would hate to read. McDonald's Indian partner, Hardcastle Restaurants is planning to set up outlets along the highways in Gujarat.

To capture the booming fast food market in Gujarat, the company is also planning to increase the number of outlets in various cities in the state.

Amit Jatia, joint venture partner and managing director, McDonald's (Western India), said, "The concept of opening outlets along the highways is in the initial stages and the company will fine tune the details by December 2006. McDonald intends to launch its highway outlet drive by the beginning of the year 2007.''

The company has chosen three busiest highways in Gujarat which includes the Surat-Mumbai highway, Vadodara-Ahmedabad Express highway and Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad highway.

"Initially we will set up three highway outlets in Gujarat and later expand to other highways within Gujarat. The outlets will be strategically located near to a city on the highway in such a fashion that it would be accessible to the traveller as well as to the people of the nearby city," he added.

The company has identified Vapi city for its outlet as it falls in between the Surat-Mumbai highway. It has identified Anand along the Vadodara-Ahmedabad Express highway and a location near the R-World on the Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad highway for its two other outlets planned in the state.

"McDonald has made primary identification of the location for its highway outlets but nothing has been finalised regarding the exact location," said Jatia.

McDonald will also ramp up its presence in Surat and Vadodara. The company will open its first outlet in Surat by mid-March 2006 and add one more by the end of the year. It also plans to open an outlet along the Surat-Dumas road.

In Vadodara, McDonald will open its second outlet at Fatehgunj area. ''The work is already in process in Vadodara and the outlet will be open by the end of this year," said Jatia.

The company however, has no immediate plans to set up shops in Saurashtra.

"We are studying the feasibility of having an outlet at Rajkot but it would not be set up before 2008. The company also plans to set up a distribution centre near Vadodara by 2008. "We need to set up our distribution centre in Gujarat by the year 2008 in order to cater to the needs of the outlets," said Jatia.

Till now, McDonald's has only one distribution center located in Mumbai to cater to the outlets in western and southern India.

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Vishal Dutta in Vadodara