The Combo Chicken MahaMac with a small fries and drink cost Rs. 185.00 ( I think it was on special and the full price was closer to Rs. 225) which I had on my return from a great India trip while experiencing the India boom first hand. The BigMac Index is a great measure of purchasing power parity and since I had'nt had the Chicken MahaMac , short for "Mahararaja Mac"at MacDonald's India – I took the opportunity at the swanky Terminal 3 of Delhi Airport and the receipt is presented alongside. Here are a couple of observations of the scenario at the food court where the MacDonald is situated:
- As in most other food courts in the USA the MacDonald's was the most crowded. Competition includes North Indian. South Indian and Chinese food stalls and yet MacDonald has it going great. The MahaMac is the answer to Big Mac and is made with chicken as Hindus in India don't eat beef. There is no bacon item as Muslims don't eat pork.
- They have a vegetable burger apart from the two chicken pattie MahaMac and I think there was a "paneer burger" as well.
- The store was overstaffed and the young folks ( the average age in India is 25 years) were professional,courteous and obviously happy to be working at MacDonald's.
- Kids see retail and call center work to be more prestigious, air-conditioned comfortable and better paying than factory work. Never mind the computer controlled machinery that require high tech skills in today's factories. Pretty similar to kids in the US if you think about it.
A McChicken meal in the US costs between $6-7 and that works out to a purchasing power parity of closer to Rs. 30 to a US $ than the Rs. 20 to a $ estimated here compared to the official exchange rate of Rs. 44 to a dollar. In other words despite rising real costs, no signs of demand slowing in booming India.