INDIA – Food and Beverage retailer, Lite Bite Foods plans to raise US$70.41 million (Rs500 crore) from investors as the company seeks to expand its presence in India and other international markets.

Lite Bites, which currently operates over 100 outlets in India and also has concession rights for six airports, plans to open more than 220 over the next five years.

The company has now hired investment advisory firm KPMG to seek private equity players for the new funding. According to an ET Retail update, the company will divest a small stake.

The group, co-promoted by Dabur’s Amit Burman, and Rohit Aggarwal said that the funds will be used for Lite Bite’s Indian and international expansion and plans to open at least 45 outlets every year for the next five years.

The expansion will include opening Punjab Grill in India and overseas along with their other casual dining brands You Mee and Barbeque by Punjab Grill.

Lite Bites also plans to expand its presence in the quick service restaurant (QSR) segment by opening Zambar Tiffins, Asia 7 Express and Street Food by Punjab Grill at malls and neighbourhood markets in tier-1 and -2 cities.

“Domestic and international retail food business offers a lot of scope in newer markets and we plan to expand our presence in the next five years. We plan to open 40-45 outlets per year for next five years,” Aggarwal said.

Over the last decade, Lite Bites has been credited with having introduced some novel, unique concepts in the rapidly growing food and beverage retail space under the Fine Dining and Casual Dining restaurant verticals.

The company claims to have over 50 locations currently operational under the Group, it is expecting a revenue of Rs 310 crore (US$43.64m) for the financial year 2019-20 from its 110 outlets through retail business only.

The airports business contributes almost the same amount to company’s revenue, making it one of the biggest self-funded food and beverage enterprise. Lite had earlier this year unveiled plans of making its airport franchise business a separate entity.

To support its expansion, the restaurant chain has also acquired four brands; Shizusan, 212 All Day and All Good, and Bar Bar from Bellona Hospitality, the food and beverages arm of Phoenix Mills Group.