Taco Bell will open 600 restaurants in India

Move will make India its biggest int'l market

By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

(CNN) - Taco Bell is making India its biggest international market.

The US-based fast food chain on Thursday announced a plan to open 600 restaurants in the country over the next 10 years, looking to cash in on the country's massive market and rapidly growing middle class. The move will create more than 20,000 new jobs, the company said.

"We see so much opportunity in India, as it is still a largely untapped market for Taco Bell and offers huge potential for the brand," Ankush Tuli, the restaurant chain's managing director in Asia, said in a statement.

Taco Bell, which already has 35 restaurants in India, has signed a master franchise agreement with Indian company Burman Hospitality. It expects to launch more than 25 new outlets through the partnership by the end of this year.

Taco Bell and its franchisees operate more than 7,000 restaurants in the United States, along with roughly 500 international locations. The brand is also planning to open new outlets in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand in the next year and "has its sights set" on launching in Indonesia and Portugal, it said.

The Mexican-themed chain has some catching up to do in India in order to match its top American fast food rivals. McDonald's and Domino's Pizza, for example, already have hundreds of outlets each in the country.

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