Tuesday, April 20, 2021

#AtoZChallenge - QSRs

This month, each day, except the four Sundays, I will be blogging about interesting features associated with Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

Quick Service Restaurants. That's the food industry term for what is popularly called fast food joints.

They are of course not unique to Bengaluru. They are all over the world -- the likes of KFC, McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, etc.

There now numerous Indian versions of these that can be found wherever there is a good gathering of people. Some of them are big chains but a vast majority of them are very small outlets doing business in only a particular area. 

The first QSR in India arguably came up in Bengaluru, long before the city transformed itself into a crowded metropolis. 

An entrepreneur named Prabhakar R -- who got inspired by the fast-food chains during his trips abroad -- incorporated the QSR model at his brother-in-law's Cafe Darshini in Jayanagar in south Bengaluru in 1983, says this article in The Times of India.

It later closed down and then came the Upahara Darshini. The word Darshini later became synonymous with fast food joints in Bengaluru. So we have Indira Darshini, Amrutha Darshini, Vaibhav Darshini, Ganesha Darshini, etc.

Ever since that there has been a revolution of sorts in the Darshini sector, especially from the late 1990s, when the IT boom struck the city. And now there are many that don't have the word Darshini in the name of the restaurant.

The menu in a Darshini is a vegetarian fare -- generally, idli, dosa, vada, upma and other rice or wheat-based dishes, plus tea or coffee; and they are served quickly and are very affordably priced. 

Most of them have very limited seating capacity, and you will have to have the food standing at a table that is shared by others. 

It is also a sort of social leveller as one can find people from all social strata at a Darshini, quickly grabbing a bite and moving on.

(Tomorrow, we look at a very popular wholesome meal.)


  1. I am very familiar with this kind of restaurants in India. I love the tasty food from these QSRs than the star restaurants.

  2. Hmmmm. If I ever get out your way, I'll have to check some of these out.

  3. Hari OM
    Oh there you go mentioning delishables again...!!! &*<>
    YAM xx

  4. Good and convenient, no doubt. I am however averse to eating outside the stalls standing on the platforms in the open along with others

  5. While fast food gets a bad rap, there has been an evolution in recent years, I think, and vast improvement in the food available in many of these type of venues. Has that been the case for QSRs in India? Weekends In Maine

  6. Hi Pradeep - gosh how fascinating to learn about QSRs ... I thought it was going to be a techie subject - albeit you'd warned us it'd be a foodie day. Looking forward to tomorrow's post - cheers Hilary

  7. actually, no need for sitting arrangements since the food is served fast. People will be floating in and out. An interesting read.

  8. Hmmm, sounds good ;) Would love to try one, with vegetarian food!

  9. I heard the 'Darshini' story on an Insta live show called Midnight Musings with the mandolin by Raman Iyer a couple of months ago. It was fascinating and tasty:)

  10. That is interesting! And now I'm hungry again. Heh...