Developing countries like India are, I think, like curious, innocent toddlers. They eagerly put everything they find into their mouths and provide ready, lucrative markets for the multinationals.
Take CCD (Cafe’ Coffee Day) outlets in Delhi NCR, for instance. Their food items and beverages are exorbitantly priced. But they still have a huge clientele because their overall ambience provides an ideal setting for many special occasions where price is not the main consideration…A quiet date, a family outing, a business meeting, an interview, etc…And sometimes, you might even spot a small group of young people just lounging around over coffee and clicking selfies with pouting lips.
But India is changing. Very fast. Living standards and expectations are improving. New fast food chains like Burger King and some local outlets in are proliferating. Not only are they offering healthy, wholesome food at reasonable prices, they have swanky premises too.
CCD is, I think, already beginning to feel the pinch of rising competition and decreasing profits. You often find them using different marketing gimmicks, which looks rather pitiable and amusing, as their basic characteristic of high prices remains immutable.
Recently while passing by through Rajiv Chowk Metro Station on my way home from work , I came across this poster outside a CCD outlet. (See below)
It gave the impression that all those tasty items were on sale for Rs.29. Out of curiosity, I walked in. To my utter disappointment, however, I discovered that the only item costing Rs.29 was their ‘Bun Chaska Masala,’ which after adding GST changed to Rs.30.
Their counter sales person must have sensed the way I felt at that time and he urged me to try a combo instead. But that was going to be from Rs.51 onwards, he said. Not being someone who gives up easily, I told him I will have just the bun.
His next question was, “Will you eat it here or should we pack it?”
“Pack it, please,” I said.
“Okay, please wait for 5 minutes.”
The dish that finally arrived on my table wasn’t packed and I had to eat it there. Here, take a look.
Waiting, waiting, waiting….
Just a pair of buns, butter, and sauce; no filling!
Well, the burger disappeared into my belly soon thereafter without giving me any joy. So I came out and searched for something else…
While I walked on, I came across another CCD. They had a pair of counter sales persons repeatedly calling out in a chorus, “Welcome to Cafe’ Coffee Day.” That was obviously another sales gimmick and coming from CCD, it seemed to be very self-demeaning indeed. See this pic below.
And then, further ahead, I found a Burger King restaurant.
To my pleasant surprise, they had a scheme of 2 veg. burgers at Rs. 62, that is, one for Rs.31, with each veg. burger containing a potato-and-peas patty, onion, and some mayonnaise. By the time I boarded the metro train at Rajiv Chowk, my hunger pangs were gone and I had a surprise treat too in my bag for my daughter, a Burger King veg. burger!
There you go! See these pics below.
Well, it does pay to be a discerning customer, doesn’t it?