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New Delhi: Rebel Foods is set to scale up partnerships with third-party restaurants chains that are using its cloud-kitchen network for expanding the reach of their own brands.

The company operates cloud kitchens from more than 320 locations for its own gourmet brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Mandarin Oak and Oven Story. It also outsources its kitchen to other brands under the Rebel Launcher Program. It works with 15 restaurant chains, both large and small, including Natural’s ice-cream, Mad Over Donuts, Wendy’s, and Anand Sweets.

Rebel is set to add another 15 brands in three to four weeks and scale significantly the number of “internet restaurants" from the current 250 to 400 by the end of March under this Program".

“Post-covid Rebel Launcher evolved in a different manner. We have really picked up pace on this and right now there are almost 15 partner brands working with us," said Ankur Sharma, co-founder and chief business officer, Rebel Foods.

There are almost 250 unique internet restaurants operating with the company. “The idea is to take these to almost 5-6 times (in number) more by the end of this calendar year. By the end of March, 250 will become 400. We have a couple of deals and big brands that have gone through," Sharma said.

The move is significant for the eating-out industry that struggled to survive as disruptions that resulted from the coronavirus outbreak that led to temporary store closures. Restaurant chains, which for most of last year worked under restrictions, also scaled up their delivery capabilities and jumped online to win business.

The Launcher Program, first rolled out in 2018, effectively offers a ready-made operating system, including kitchens, technology, distribution channels and supply chain, to food entrepreneurs to scale up their brands. This could be in a single location from where multiple such “internet restaurants" function. These brands sell by listing on food aggregators.

In India, cloud kitchens, which are essentially commercial cooking facilities with no physical dining space and catering only to delivery orders placed online, are projected to become a $2 billion industry in India by 2024, according to RedSeer Management Consulting.

More recently, Sequoia-backed Rebel Foods partnered with Sierra Nevada Restaurants to develop and operate approximately 250 Wendy’s cloud kitchens across India.

It has already opened 20 Wendy’s kitchens in the Delhi-NCR region. Another 20 such cloud kitchens are expected to come up in four to five weeks.

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