Indian On The Rise

Staff Writer
Indian fast-casual restaurants spice up the segment
Merzi in Washington, D.C.
<a href="http://www.mangotomato.com/">Manto & Tomato</a>/Olga Berman
Merzi in Washington, D.C.

Betting that American consumers are hungry for new ethnic flavors, entrepreneurs across the country are racing to develop what could be the first national chain to offer Indian food in a fast-casual setting.

Full-service mom-and-pop operators have long dominated the landscape of Indian restaurants across America, but this new wave of chain concepts aims to offer the same flavors with limited-service speed and price points.

Bombay Bowl in Denver; Chutney Joe’s Indian Diner in Chicago; Royal India Express in San Diego; Café Spice in New York; and Merzi in Washington, D.C., are leading the pack.

Some borrow from Chipotle Mexican Grill’s customization model, while others have followed in the Chinese quick-service restaurant Panda Express’ footsteps.

Despite their operational differences, all brands say they see a wide-open opportunity to hook American diners who are ready to move beyond the more familiar ethnic categories of Mexican, Chinese and Italian fare.

Click to read about five Indian concepts growing in the fast-casual space.
Bombay Bowl
Chutney Joe’s Indian Diner
Royal India Express
Café Spice
Merzi

— Lisa Jennings

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