BANGALORE: Domino's, the fast food specialist, is aiming to heighten its presence in India, and is placing a particular emphasis on affordability and customer service, which it argues are of specific importance in the fast-growing market.

Domino's launched in the Asian nation in 1995, and now operates a total of 274 outlets in 55 cities across 20 regions in the country.

The Food Franchising Report 2009, produced by the Confederation of Indian Food Trade and Industry, stated that the US firm currently holds a 65% share of the Indian home-delivery pizza market.

However, Technopak had also estimated that just 2% of monthly expenditure on takeaways and other similar such purchases in the developing economy is currently taken by pizza and pasta.

While this figure is low, Domino's has enjoyed growth of more than 100% in each of the last two years, with like-for-like totals rising by 16% on an annual basis over this timeframe.

Dev Amritesh, vice president of marketing for the company's Indian operations, said it has "constantly focused on consumer-centric areas such as product innovation, taste, pricing and customer service."

He further suggested that the launch of a wide variety of dining options had helped boost the appeal of its menu in a relatively short period of time.

More broadly, the substantial changes taking place within Indian society itself have been key contributors to Domino's success, according to Amritesh.

These include rising income levels, especially among young consumers, as well as the rapid expansion in the size of the middle class, and the notable increase in the number of women now pursuing full-time careers.

"With global exposure and changing demographics, Indian consumers are not very different in terms of their expectations from service brands," added Amritesh.

Two major areas where the company has strived to be highly competitive are service and price, both of which are becoming essential elements for success in the country.

Its initiatives have included a 30-minute delivery promise, and the Pizza Mania promotion, offering a pizza or Fun Meal for four people for just 35 rupees.

Schemes such as Pizza Mania have "helped us drive value-for-money proposition allowing access to the brand," Amritesh argued.

"In India, for a brand that has aspiration to cut across consumer segments, affordability is critical. That said, it is still one of the aspects of brand building, not the most important tool to create a strong brand," he concluded.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff