BYOB – Build Your Own Burger

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A few years back, the largest hamburger chain, McDonald’s, rolled out an innovative service to boost slowing sales in some countries. The ‘Create Your Own Gourmet Burger’ service, obvious as the name, gives customers the liberty to choose each ingredient that goes into their burger. Imagine getting to choose from about 22 different ingredients, including caramelized onions, grilled mushrooms, red onions, pepper jack cheese, thick cut apple-wood smoked bacon and sliced jalapenos. Once the customer selects the ingredients by clicking on a touchscreen, a 7-ish minute wait, and you are served with your own unique burger. Started back in 2013 in California and Illinois, this service is now available across parts of Europe too. It has generated considerable interest, especially among the youth.

Exciting as this sounds, if and when it comes to India, do you think it could pose interesting challenges to rival restaurant chains here?

What could be the possible impacts of such a service on traditional Indian fast food chains, if any? Will customers like this format, and expect it even at other food chains? Or will there be hesitance in daring to choose or create? In India, this technology definitely has many challenges. Tier 2 and 3 cities could find it difficult to adopt this new technology, primarily due to limited awareness, and maybe the awkwardness or hassles involved in going through multiple options, rather than just ordering old favorites or recommended items off the menu. Feasibility is another important factor. Given the large number of customers who enjoy fast food, would it make financial sense to invest in multiple machines and the tech to cater to large volumes? Or will there be a part-machine, part human team putting orders together? Educating the masses might be a task too. And would the Indian customer mind paying a little extra for this benefit or not, is a big question.

While most Indian fast food chains have the widest possible variety as is evident from the numerous pages their menu cards runs into, it would be interesting to see if and how these food business veterans react to customers expressing interest to create their own fast food.

This post was written by Sandesh C, a bright, young chap pursuing his MBA at a leading B-school, and currently interning at the A-Team.

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