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Marketing News and Views

Veggie revenge

US fast food chains are taking on some of the toughest competition in the world: vegetarians. Subway — the largest chain of its kind in the US (yep, bigger than McD’s in outlets) — opened a Jain counter in Ahmadabad in western India.

The all-veggie items are a far cry from the foot-long sub sandwiches the chain made famous. Modifying a menu to fit local tastes is nothing new (e.g., McDonald’s Maharaja Burger and Pizza Hut’s veggie pizzas, also in India), but it raises a slightly unsettling brand question: is a burger or sub chain undermining its own global equity by abandoning its core meal? Or is it proving that its brand DNA is about good food or attentive service or family fun, and its food is just the caboose on the brand train?

Either way, this is called “glocalization” (global brand, local variations), and it will only be accelerating in the future as every major chain selling its food tries to fit its wares to local needs. It will be interesting to see if any brands are harmed in the making of those particular Bollywood movies.