Rebel Foods bullish on India’s food ordering space with aggressive expansion plans

In a recent conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch powered by HSBC, Raghav Joshi, Co-founder, Rebel Foods talks about the company’s investment plans post the latest fundraise.
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Founded in 2011, Rebel Foods is an online restaurant company that handles brands such as Behrouz Biyani, Faasos, Sweet Truth, Over Story, among others. It claims to be one of the largest cloud kitchen chains in the world, operating about 370 kitchens in around 10 countries.

In October, 2021, Rebel Foods entered the unicorn club after raising $175 million in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority.

Commenting on the fundraise, Raghav Joshi, Co-founder, Rebel Foods says that funding and higher valuation is good validation to the business models. This, in his opinion, opens up their foray into investing and acquiring brands in the space which will move them towards their vision of addressing all the important customer missions through high-quality brands.

Raghav Joshi, Co-Founder, Rebel Foods

Over the next 12 months, Rebel Foods is going to invest in and acquire brands that will allow them to fulfil its vision.

Speaking about the festive season scenario, he says that the company noticed a rise in demand over the last four to five months. Events such as Ramzan, IPL, and T20 contributed to increasing the orders.

“We have also done a lot of work in the last 12 months to build a lot of customer-first offerings,” says Raghav. They have made unique launches in Oven Story, Behrouz and other brands which are bringing in a lot of traction.

Apart from that, with the winter settling in there is a lot of demand noticed in cakes as well for their Sweet Truth brand.

“All in all, very excited to be part of this period of continued momentum and looking forward to ending the year on a high,” says Raghav.

Raghav mentions that the company currently has about 370 odd cloud kitchens in India spread across 60 cities. Over the next couple of weeks, this number is expected to bump up to 75 cities.

As far as international expansion is concerned, Rebel Foods is present in 10 countries and it plans to add another 10 countries next year. The company aims to be at around 500-plus kitchens in the next 12 months and 700 plus in the next 24 months.

Rebel Foods is expecting a 40-50 percent network expansion in India and doubling of international footprint in the next 12-18 months. “We are very bullish on India’s appetite for food ordering,” he says.

He adds that average order value went up during the pandemic and now with the markets, cities and offices reopening, it is seeing some sort of reversal but it is still healthy as compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“It is still at a level of 30-40 percent higher than the pre-COVID-19 levels,” says Raghav. Some of their premium brands such as Behrouz Biryani, Oven Story, and Sweet truth are doing very well which is contributing to the average order value.

Raghav says that in terms of targets Rebel Foods is planning to double its pre-COVID-19 levels in the next few months. Speaking about capital requirements, he says that some of the capital will go towards the expansion of their network. Apart from that, they will be significantly investing in automation and technology.

Lastly, he says that Rebel Foods has not explored areas such as Indian sweets, Indian snacks, South Indian cuisine and it plans on exploring those categories in the near future. “In the next few weeks we should be announcing some great partnerships,” says Raghav.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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