Indian internet restaurant startup Rebel Foods bets on Middle East in race to achieve unicorn status

MIDDLE EAST – Rebel Foods, an India-based virtual restaurant chain, is betting on the Middle East to deliver the necessary business required to make it a US$1 billion food delivery business. 

Towards this goal, the company which already has a major presence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has set in motion an aggressive three year expansion plan in the region mainly targeting GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. 

According to a report by Arabian Business, the online food major, which owns popular dark kitchen brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani and Oven Story, plans to expand into Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Egypt by the first quarter of 2022. 

This will be in addition to Rebel Foods’ already announced plans to enter Saudi Arabia by end of this year and expand its footprint all over the UAE soon. 

“The Middle East is a key region for Rebel Foods, and we are investing significantly to build our cloud kitchen network and to strengthen our brands,” Ajay Jain, chief executive officer in the UAE of Rebel Foods, told Arabian Business. 

Jain noted that the food delivery industry in the GCC is currently at US$6-7bn and is growing at a healthy rate of 20-25 percent adding that the company aimed to take advantage of the region’s double-digit growth to “build a $1bn food delivery business over the next three years” 

The Rebel Foods top executive also revealed that the company’s expansions in the GCC region would be supported its already existing cloud kitchen network in Dubai. 

“We will leverage the existing players’ networks to reach the product-market fit quickly in each of these geographies and will launch multiple brands using our tried and tested formula.” 

In an interview with the Arabian Business, co-founder Kallol Banerjee  Banerjee revealed that aside from the Middle East, the company also would be entering into few other overseas markets over the next few months. 

“We aim to be present in at least 20 countries by the end of fiscal year 2021-2022. Being the pioneer in the internet restaurant industry, we possess the capabilities to launch and scale-up multi-brand cloud kitchens across different markets,” Banerjee said. 

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There is real opportunity for Rebel Foods as Ghost kitchens are becoming a more serious business with projections from real estate firm projecting that the commercial kitchens without storefronts will account for 21% of the restaurant industry by 2025. 

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