Wendy’s Co. has struck a deal with cloud kitchen operator Rebel Foods Pvt to scale the fast food chain’s physical presence in India to 150 locations, betting on diners returning to public eateries as the pandemic ebbs. Mumbai-based Rebel will become a master franchisee of the burger brand about two years after the companies signed a cloud kitchen deliveries-only deal. With the latest signing, the startup will help grow the chain through its digital expertise in delivery and automation, the companies said on Tuesday.
In the expanded relationship, Rebel will develop about 150 traditional restaurants over the next decade. This is in addition to their December 2020 agreement for Rebel to run 250 cloud kitchens in India, which prepare food for delivery only and don’t serve dine-in customers. Currently, Wendy’s is in 90 locations across 19 cities, with its three traditional restaurants operated by Rebel.
“India is a strategic, high-growth potential market for us,” said Abigail Pringle, president for international development at Wendy’s. In a country that’s quickly embraced global fast food brands, Wendy’s and its rivals have eased the adaptation by customizing their menus to suit the local palate. The Ohio-based firm offers a Spicy Aloo Crunch Burger with potatoes, a Paneer Delight Burger with cottage cheese and spicy Masala Fries.
Rebel is in discussions with other global fast dining and restaurant chains for similar agreements, co-founder Sagar Kochhar said in an interview. Rebel Foods was founded in 2011 and is backed by Sequoia Capital and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. It works with dozens of homegrown brands and has over 450 kitchens in 70 cities across India.