Navratri 2016: Domino’s to go vegetarian for 9 days; will only serve Navratri menu in 500 outlets from October 1

Not only will the food be vegetarian, it will also be prepared without onions, garlic, wheat flour and other ingredients which Hindus abstain from during Navratri. The pizza bases will be made of water chestnut flour and only rock salt will be used for taste. 

Mumbai, September 12: This is going to be disappointing for meat lovers in India. One of the leading American food chains in India, Domino’s Pizza is walking the extra mile this time around, to attract more customers. The international restaurant chain has announced that it will only sell vegetarian food in 500 outlets- almost half its total number of stores in India- during the nine-day Navratri festival- one of the most important festival of Hindus. The decision has been taken keeping in mind that followers of Hinduism keep away from meat during nine days of the festival which is celebrated every year before Dussehra and Diwali.

The move comes as the Indian unit of the retail food chain struggles to recover from its slowest same-store sales growth in almost two years. Starting from October 1, till October 10, scores of Domino’s outlets across North and central India will stop serving non-vegetarian food. According to a report in the Economic Times, this is the first time that a western-style quick service restaurant (QSR), is modifying its menu for Navratris, on such a large scale. Domino’s has served vegetarian-only food before too during Navratri, but the exercise has been limited to only select stores, and delivery option has been unavailable before.

The extra measures are being taken to ensure good sales even during Navratris, when earnings of food outlets and QSRs usually go down. Domino’s Pizza India President Dev Amritesh said in a statement, ”Consumption of non-vegetarian food reduces significantly during this time. This move is an acknowledgement that though we are a global brand, we are conscious about consumer needs. It’s about making a statement to consumers.” Not only will the food be vegetarian, it will also be prepared without onions, garlic, wheat flour. The pizza bases will be made of water chestnut flour and only rock salt will be used for taste.

Saabudaan crispies and dumplings will also be added to the menu. Amritesh said that modifying the menu and converting it on such a large scale was logistically not an easy task. ”Pizza being a very versatile product, we have been able to create this menu,” he added. Domino’s is the current leader of the pizza market in India which occupies over 70 per cent of the share, with over a 1,000 restaurants all across the country. However, owning to new consumer behaviour where they are cutting back on discretionary spending, the sales growth of the restaurant has been steadily slowing down.

Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd, which is the exclusive India franchisee of Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, recorded a 3.2 per cent year-on-year drop in same-store sales growth, for the April-June quarter. Given the high competition faced by the chain from other QSR chains like McDonalds, Subway and KFC, innovation was found to be the key to boost sales growth and achieve continued success. Jubilant FoodWorkd Ltd has adopted other promotion methods too, like ‘Buy one, get one free’ schemes. During the April-June quarter, the company added 23 new outlets, much lesser than the 35 restaurants that it added last year. However, it has retained a target of adding 130-140 stores in the current financial year.