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    Apr 2011

    Default McDonald's goes for costliest revamp to attract more adults

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    Fifteen years after it entered India, Big Mac is changing colours, literally. The world's largest fast-food chain is shedding its familiar red-and-yellow colours for more muted tones as it goes for its biggest and costliest revamp in the country, in line with its global strategy of attracting more adults.

    The makeover also involves taking away the iconic mascot, Ronald McDonald, at least from some of its outlets in the country and beefing up its menu with options that are more likely to appeal to adults. The US-based burger-and-fries chain has already added McSpicy Chicken Burger and McFlurry desserts to its offerings in India.

    The red-and-yellow company logo will be replaced by white across its 240 restaurants over the next three-four years and the decor will change from neon-yellow and bright-red interiors to pale colours.

    "The change has already kicked off with one outlet each in New Delhi and Mumbai," said McDonald's India (North & East) MD and joint venture partner Vikram Bakshi. The company hopes to upgrade the consumer's experience, he said, without alienating its younger customers and raising prices.

    Others are not so confident. "McDonald's core equity, at least in India, lies with kids, mostly in the sub-13-year age group. I am not sure if the move to bring in muted colours and decor would go well with this category of consumers," said Mahesh Chauhan, co-founder of advertising and marketing firm Salt Brand Solutions.

    "It may be a good move for some other developed markets, but I am not sure how it will work for a market like India where organised food retail still remains very small." The makeover in India, part of the company's revamp in the Asia-Pacific Middle-East and Africa region, comes three-four years after the US and Europe.

    "The designs will be different in different stores depending on their location but the common thread will be more soothing colours, contemporary designs and softer seating," said Bakshi. Ronald McDonald will disappear from locations where more adults visit the outlets, but will remain in restaurants where the footfalls of children are higher.

    Globally, McDonald's has been under pressure from nutritionists and activists to remove its clown mascot because it attracts mainly children.



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