• Raghav Joshi, co-founder at the company, said plans are afoot to invest in a brand specializing in north Indian cuisine

NEW DELHI : Internet restaurant company Rebel Foods plans to invest in more homegrown food services brands to expand its network of delivery kitchens across the country.
Raghav Joshi, co-founder at the company that runs cloud-kitchen brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Ovenstory Pizza, Mandarin Oak and Slay Coffee said plans are afoot to invest in a brand specializing in north Indian cuisine.
“Our investment thesis is that there are certain categories where we are strong; for example, biryani is a category where Behrouz and Biryani Blues are there. Then there are certain categories where we are not present. We know categories that are big; for example, north Indian is a category we are not present in. We are not present in south Indian or Indian sweets. We have to be present in all the major categories where customers order in from,” Joshi said in a virtual interview.
Earlier this year, the startup, which counts Goldman Sachs, Sequoia Capital India and Qatar Investment Authority among its backers, announced plans to invest $150 million to acquire and scale food brands in India and overseas.
Joshi said the company isn’t in a rush to spend the outlined $150 million and make prudent investments in brands that help fulfil gaps in its portfolio. The investments will also be guided by the brand’s ability and desire to scale, he added. Besides north and south Indian cuisines, Rebel Foods is exploring categories such as sandwiches and ice creams. “Investment is an outcome of various things, including customer experience, scalability, promoter vision, fit with the Rebel OS,” said Joshi. “Now this might require time because all of these boxes have to be ticked. We are not in a hurry in terms of using the entire $150 million within this year,” Joshi said.
In April, Rebel Foods took a majority stake in Smoor, a luxury chocolate brand. It also bought a minority stake in quick-service restaurant (QSR) brand Biryani Blues in October. The following month, it picked up a minority stake in Hyderabad-based QSR chain Zomoz. It has also invested in coffee startup Slay coffee.
Cloud kitchen operators gained as the pandemic led consumers to order more food online. Rebel Foods, too, speeded up expansion, opening cloud kitchens in 80 cities in the last two years, up from 35 cities prior to the pandemic. It also helped that people moved from large metros back to their home towns, driving the popularity and use of food delivery platforms in tier-2 markets.
Joshi, however, said that the company will currently focus on expanding its base in the existing 80 cities instead of entering new markets.
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