Bratwurst and burritos in Bangalore
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The consumption patterns of India's young are getting specialty food makers and foreign chefs excited
A German student who researched cultural influences on consumer behaviour is trying to put into practice some of his college learnings in faraway Bangalore. Robin Decher, 28, moved to India a year ago to take up his very first job with the German-owned Arthur's Food Company. Decher, a graduate of Giessen University, is business development manager for Arthur's, which makes and sells German processed meats, a novelty in India. They make old-style pork and chicken products that are now being made available in the neighbourhood supermarket.
Between Decher, his German business owner and their German master butcher, the three are introducing cured specialty meats to the local palate and want to advance another rapidly growing movement amongst urban, upper middle class Indians: home grilling and barbecuing. At the same time, the German trio is part of another, bigger trend. Decher and many foreign food entrepreneurs and professionals have set up base in India to start restaurants, food businesses and catering services. They are offering a plethora of specialised foods and international cuisines.
In Bangalore, two French chefs have opened pastry shops and continental restaurants, a group of recent American graduates have launched a California-style burrito chain and an American couple has opened an upscale tex-mex restaurant called Habanero.
Food is obviously a popular niche. Nearly a third of the members of the Bangalore-based Expat Entrepreneurs' Circle are in the food business, said Ema Trinidad, who founded the network. And more businesses are looking to set up. It works to your advantage if you are a Frenchman opening a French restaurant or an American opening up a Mexican chain, Trinidad said. But does it guarantee success? No. "You will be judged so you better be really authentic and good. Indians are very well travelled and nobody is fooled anymore," Trinidad said.