Can India be Donut country?

I don't know about South Korea, but if Dunkin' Donuts wants to take on India it has to get its target consumer segment right. And that segment in India must not include consumers who have been conditioned to a taste that's savoury and hot. That then totally excludes a populace above, lets say, the age of thirty five. Because any one who's that old has had his tongue used to a taste that's hot and savoury. Dunkin' Donuts don't fit in.

If DD's got to make it big in India, it must go after the crowd Cafe' Coffee Day's mesmerised. Because that crowd's already into coffee. CCD has brilliantly got them hooked. Now its a combination of Coffee and Donuts that must connect with them. My bet is, it will, assuming the rest of the P's are managed well. Especially pricing and lifestyle based Cafe' format hangouts.

What I'd like to dwell on is why Dunkin' mustn't go after the 'older generation' in India. Its got everything to do with the concept of 'Consumer Learning'. The theory of Instrumental Conditioning driven learning is based on consumer responses to stimuli that result in the most satisfactory response. The greater the satisfaction with a certain stimuli, the better the response in terms of repetitions with that very stimuli. The stronger the subsequent learning. The level of conditioning is enhanced as one ages. Take food habits for example. The older you are the more fixated you are on certain kinds of food. That's because your tongue's conditioned to a certain taste, that you liked, accepted and repeated. Not so when you are young. That's the age at which one 'tries' different cuisines, is more open to tastes that are alien. For the older generation in India, a snack's supposed to be hot and savoury. At least for most of them. The Donut taste's alien. So is the Cafe' format. That's a direct contrast to the younger uns. Donuts will do fine. Cafe hangout's most welcome.

for Dunkin' Donuts, Korea's the company's top foreign growth market. Something tells me, there too, its the youngster they're after. Korea's going to be easier than India, due to a history of American influence. In India, it will tougher. For now, the only crowd that will take to Donuts in India will be the young uns, who live in cities, are from upper middle class families, and are the kind that can be seen lounging at Cafes.


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