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Industry Restaurants
Founded 1934
Founder Nirula Brothers
Headquarters Delhi, India
Number of locations
Area served
North India (focus: NCR Delhi)
Key people
Amit Chadha (CEO & Director)
Pradeep Chadha
Ashish Chadha and Avinash Chadha
Products Fast food, Indian cuisine, ice cream, pastry
Owner Nirula's Corner House Private Limited
Website Nirula's official website

Nirula's is India's oldest fast food restaurant chain.[1][2] Based in North India and most popular in NCR Delhi, it was Delhi's first fast food restaurant, opening in Connaught Place in 1977. Today it has over 70 outlets in NCR Delhi, Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh states, offering a “Desi” version of Western fast food items.
Nirula's success has led them to branch out into other ventures which include, ‘Potpourri’, an Indian cuisine, casual dining restaurant chain; ‘Nirula's 21’, ice cream parlour chain, in addition to pastry shops and two hotels in Noida and Panipat.[3][4] Recently Nirula's opened its first franchise in Patna, their first outlet in the entire east zone.[5]


The chain traces its origins to "Hotel India",[6] which opened at the L-Block in Connaught Place (CP), New Delhi in 1934, by "Nirula Brothers", L.C. and M. Nirula; it had 12 rooms, a restaurant and a bar.[7] In 1940, on request of the Indian Coffee Board, they opened the Indian Coffee Shop in Janpath introducing espresso coffee, which became an instant success. Soon afterwards they launched two theme restaurants —‘La Boheme’, a Hungarian restaurant; and ‘Gufa’, an Indian restaurant.[1][8] In the 1950s, the 'Chinese Room' was opened, the oldest Chinese restaurant in Delhi. It is still on its original premises.

The 1970s saw Nirula's venturing into the fast food business with the opening of what became Delhi's first fast food restaurant in 1977, to which was later added: a pastry shop, snack bar, hot shoppe and an ice cream parlour. A subsequent addition was the adjacent, waiter-served "Potpourri" salad bar. By that time Nirula's was already a CP landmark, offering Western fast food such as burgers, pizzas and submarines, plus an ice cream parlour offering 21 flavours.[9]

Nirula's kathi roll meal on an IndiGo flight

Expansion of the fast food business continued in the next two decades, with the opening of the ‘Central Kitchen’ and at the Chanakya cinema complex, Chanakyapuri, Defence Colony, Noida, Vasant Vihar and various other locations in the NCR.[10] Before the arrival of several international restaurant chains in the 1990s, Nirula's remained a major draw for young people in the capital. In the following years, even after chains like McDonald's made inroads into its share, Nirula's retained 40 per cent of the Delhi market in 2000.[11][12] Even then, facing stiff competition from Nirula's, McDonald's had to "Indianise" its menu to suit Indian palates, while on its end, Nirula's added competitive pricing and revamped its interiors.[3][4][13][14]

To diversify its business, the group opened hotels, one in Noida and another in Panipat, and set up food processing plants in Noida, near Delhi.

Nirulas was also the first Western-style fast food restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal, where it had two outlets, the main branch in Durbar Marg —where there currently is a KFC and a Pizza Hut on top, and a smaller branch on New Road. The best selling items were pizzas and ice cream. While both were already available in Kathmandu, they were offered at premium restaurants as gourmet versions and not as fast food.
Through the 1990s Nirula's faced heated competition from local and international fast food outlets and by 1995 there was only one Nirula's left in the city. The quality also went down and it soon closed its doors for good.[citation needed]
While Kathmandu is now teeming with fast food outlets, many still reminiscence about Nirula's as the place that they had their first pizza in. Their most popular pizza was the salami pizza, also their cheapest meat pizza.[citation needed]

Nirula's express outlet at Delhi Airport.

In 2007, the original CP outlet moved to K-Block, Connaught Place, while the adjacent Potpourri moved to N block, Outer Circle.[8][12] Also in 2007, Nirula's opened India first ice cream museum inside its ice cream factory in Noida.[2][15] In the same year, the chain introduced three new outlet formats, including "Nirula's Express", Food Court Unit and Ice-Cream Kiosks, with the first Express outlet opening at the Delhi Airport.[16]

Today the chain has outlets across North India, in Dehradun, Indore, Meerut, Mussoorie, Panipat, Pathankot and Udaipur.[10][17]


Restaurant formats[edit]

  • Nirula's 'Family-style' outlets: Quick service with take-away, home delivery and online ordering
  • Nirula's Express: Take away-only
  • Fuel Station Outlets.
  • Potpourri: Fully waiter served, multi-cuisine restaurant chain
  • Nirula's 21: Ice cream parlours
  • Pegasus bar


  1. ^ a b Seth, Pran Nath; Sushma S. Bhat (2006). "Nirula's: India's First Restaurant chain". Successful Tourism: Volume II: Tourism Practices. Sterling Publishers. p. 285. ISBN 81-207-3200-6. 
  2. ^ a b "Nirula's gives India its first ice cream museum". CNN IBN. November 14, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Fast food: Attention to local palates pays off". Financial Times. January 28, 2010. Popular Indian restaurants such as Nirula’s and Sagar Ratna, which specialises in south Indian food, are also expanding, with 60 to 70 locations each. 
  4. ^ a b "Battle of Burgers: Nirula's set to take on McDonald's". CNN IBN. April 4, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Nirula's opens outlet in Patna". Patna: Business Standard Ltd. (Press Trust of India). October 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Know Nirula's". Nirula's Corner House Pvt. Ltd. 
  7. ^ "'Lodged' in the heart of New Delhi". Hindustan Times. August 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Sinha, Bhadra (August 11, 2005). "CP landmark Nirula's may soon be history". Times of India. 
  9. ^ "Nirula's goes partly Malaysian". CNN IBN. July 1, 2006. 
  10. ^ a b About us
  11. ^ "Purani Dilli food: Nothing exclusive about it". The Pioneer. February 1, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "Good old landmark is back in Connaught Place". Chennai, India: The Hindu. March 2, 2007. 
  13. ^ Collis, David J.; Cynthia A. Montgomery; Michael Goold (1999). Harvard business review on corporate strategy (Harvard Business Review). Harvard Business Press. p. 102. ISBN 1-57851-142-9. 
  14. ^ "And the winner is... butter chicken!". Indian Express. October 9, 2000. 
  15. ^ "A museum to tell ice cream story". DNA (newspaper). November 14, 2007. 
  16. ^ "Nirula's to change outlet formats". Business Line. Jan 23, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Nirula's to add 140 new outlets by 2010". Chennai, India: The Hindu. August 27, 2008. 
  18. ^ Locator

External links[edit]