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Fast Food Chains Took A Hit During The Pandemic, Came Back Stronger

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

Craving fast food in the early 1990s was tricky because there weren’t too many options. For those who weren’t too conscious about hygiene, a compromise was natural because they had to eat what was available.

Fast forward to 2021, there are a large number of organised quick service restaurant (QSR) chains, who can fulfill your cravings in a jiffy. McDonald’s, Dominos, Burger King and Jumbo King are some of the players in the game.

A February 2021 report by Edelweiss Securities said that India’s QSR market is expected to clock a compounded annual growth rate of 23% between now and the fiscal year 2025.

India has a predominantly young population and this factor has contributed to the growing success of QSRs in our country. Representational Image. Photo credit: NRAI.

Reasons For Popularity

QSRs serve meals at low prices, with minimal table service. People usually pay beforehand, while ordering the food. Following are some of the main reasons why QSRs are fast-becoming a major trend in our country:

  • Online food delivery
  • Changing lifestyles
  • Glocalisation of brands
  • Catchy advertisements
  • Urbanisation
  • Demographics: over 50% of Indians are younger than the age of 24. When a majority of the population is young, there is a greater demand for fast food.

Yes, the pandemic was a setback because a countrywide lockdown was imposed. All businesses remained shut down for a long time. But, margin protection and a focus on redefining value propositions have brought sanity back to the business world.

Future Of QSRs

An increase in online and zero-contact food deliveries has been noticed over the past year. It may be here to stay. As the number of internet users are increasing all over the country, most of the QSR players are using social media to engage with their customers.

Amit Jatia, vice chairman of Westlife Development, which runs McDonald’s restaurants in the west and south of India, says that organized players will get even stronger in the months ahead. QSRs have benefited during the pandemic, as consumers are increasingly gravitating towards organized players.

Dheeraj Gupta, the founder of Jumbo King, agrees. Gupta opined, “India is at an inflection point when it comes to eating out. The QSR business itself will grow rapidly with existing chains growing rapidly into newer markets.”

QSRs have become all the more popular during the pandemic, as home deliveries have become the norm now. Representational Image. Photo credit: Flickr.

Tips For QSRs

He also shared a few tips for QSRs to stay on top of their delivery game.

1. Over-deliver on first-time orders: Give people a reason to come back. People like to be spoken to as individuals, not as a mass audience. Whether that’s by automatically filling in predetermined information or sending a small, extra, trial portion, it hints that a brand knows and values its customers.

2. Make your website B2C friendly: The website’s homepage is a customer’s first and main entry point. This is an opportunity to make customers feel seen and reflect an e-commerce-first approach. Make it easy for them to try your brand.

3. Make the ordering process fun: This is the most important part. Use aesthetically pleasing visuals and make suggestions based on customer palates. Do this to showcase brand personality, while keeping people engaged and entertained.

Showing lip-smacking visuals of the food make it easier for people to get a better idea of what they want.

4. Make the checkout easy: Checkout and delivery are the last digital obstacle between a person and their food. Make it quick and transition the customer from the cart to submitting their order “in as few steps as possible”.

Often, delivery services have a cart. This presents an opportunity to include a “You May Also Like” section during the checkout step.

5. Streamline desktop and mobile ordering: While the web design is responsive across different devices, it’s not exactly optimized for them. It is important to differentiate the experience between the two devices.

Most often, customers will be on their phones, but expect the same ease they would find when using a desktop. Eliminate the task of lengthy vertical scrolling on mobile as far as possible.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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