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Paneer Pizza: Domino's Sees India Becoming Second-Largest Market

In recent years, Domino's Pizza has rapidly expanded overseas — helping it open stores at a faster clip than Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, according to Forbes. Part of that growth is in India, which company CEO J. Patrick Doyle says is poised to supplant Britain as the chain's largest market outside the U.S.

"It is pretty clear that in the next few years, India will become the largest market outside the U.S.," Doyle tells The Economic Times of India. The newspaper says that by the end of October, Domino's had 650 restaurants in 137 cities in India — "just 100 shy of the U.K.," Doyle says.

The stores are selling "around 8 million pizzas every month," according to the most recent quarterly report from Jubilant Foods, which operates Domino's locations in India.

Domino's Indian franchises don't offer the same menu we see here in the U.S. — about half the items are specific to the country. The menus are tailored to Indian tastes, emphasizing vegetarian options and boosting spiciness.

For instance, instead of a packet of Parmesan cheese, pizzas come with an "oregano spice mix" that has a dash of garlic and chili peppers. Recent additions include a Lebanese roll — a spicy roll with peas and cheese — and Taco Indiana — a folded and stuffed pizza crust that one American reviewer says is many things, but is "not a taco."

Doyle says some of those ideas have spread to Britain.

"There are pizzas from India that are now being sold in the U.K., like paneer pizza, chicken tikka masala pizza and keema do pyaaza pizza," he tells the Economic Times. "The crust, the sauce and the cheese can be the same everywhere, but the topping, which is where a lot of flavor comes from, varies and can easily be localized."

The expansion has helped Domino's, which trails market leader Pizza Hut in its total number of stores, open new locations at a faster pace "than Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, [Pizza Hut parent] Yum! Brands and McDonald's since 2008," according to a recent Forbes report.

The magazine says 43 percent of that growth has been outside the United States.

The main franchisee for Domino's in India is Jubilant Foods. Hoping to duplicate its success with the pizza chain, the company opened the first Dunkin' Donuts in India last year. Jubilant now has nearly 20 Dunkin' stores, according to its website.

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