Saurabh Kalra

Director - Business Insights, Strategy, Innovation & Equipments @ McDonald's India,West& South

Having started his career with McDonald’s India in 2002 as a Management Trainee, Saurabh, in 2004, became the youngest Restaurant Manager of his batch at the age of 23 and soon worked his way up the career ladder with several accolades and rewards to his credit. His interest in design and operations expertise soon led him to becoming the Area Manager and Operations consultant, where he picked up the finer aspects of the business, and slowly transitioned from his restaurant facing role, to the corporate profile.

Saurabh has several firsts with the brand’s history in India. He was part of the team that launched the McDonald’s brand in South India. He was responsible for the entire end to end planning and execution of the first McDonald’s family restaurant launch in Bengaluru. He was also the project lead for the launch of McCafé in India and leads the recent Experience of The Future concept restaurants being rolled out across the regions.

As his responsibilities and role grew, his interest moved beyond just operations. While he continued to excel at operations, he took keen interest in training and development and led the team that worked with crew and RMs on their learning journey. His interest further grew in strategy and innovation, where he began articulating bigger plans for the brand – which led to the launch of McCafé in India, a project headed by him. In 2015, Saurabh was appointed Director – Restaurant Solutions Group, Training & Special Projects and recently, he has taken over the portfolio of Director – Strategy, Innovation, Business Insights and Equipments.

Saurabh has also won several prestigious accolades in the innovation and operational excellence space. He has been a recipient of the Circle of Excellence, twice in five years, the first being awarded for the GTM Team project for APMEA Market (2011-2012), and the second, recently, for the Zero Waste Implementation (Business Model Implementation) in India (2016-2017). He is also a recipient of the highly prestigious President’s Award for McCafé launch in India.
As the lead on EOTF concept restaurants, Saurabh has been responsible for the launch of 5 EOTF restaurants in Mumbai and the recently launched one in Bangalore, with 4 more on their way. A passionate, hard-working and focused individual, Saurabh is also known to diffuse difficult situations with his cool demeanour and quick wit.

Originally hailing from Dehradun, Saurabh holds a Diploma in Hotel Management & Catering Technology from IHM Ahmedabad, and has completed two PGPMS – Business Management advanced courses from Welingkar Institute of Management, Mumbai. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Mumbai.