INDIA – Fast food giant, McDonald’s India has acquired full ownership of Connaught Plaza Restaurants Limited (CPRL) franchise in the North and the East India.

CPRL will now be wholly owned by MIPL and its affiliate McDonald’s Global Markets following completion of a settlement Vikram Bakshi’s 50% stake in the McDonald’s-Bakshi 50:50 joint venture in CPRL.

Following the acquisition, 165 McDonald’s restaurants in North and East, which were run by CPRL will be temporarily closed to allow MIPL conduct a ‘comprehensive assessment of operational protocols and employee training’.

“Existing managers and crew will continue to be employed during this temporary closure and will be actively involved in activities to re-open the restaurants,” MIPL said in a statement.

With the transfer of ownership and management, Bakshi ends his over-two-decade-old association with CPRL and McDonald’s following which MIPL named Robert Hunghanfoo as head of CPRL.

“Our top priority is to deliver the highest quality restaurant experience to our customers. We will be working around the clock during this process and anticipate our restaurants will start to progressively open over the next two weeks or so,” said Robert Hunghanfoo.

“During the transition, MIPL will be focused on two key areas – providing employees with clarity and confidence in their future at McDonald’s and leveraging McDonald’s global system expertise to fortify high operating standards for our local customers.

“McDonald’s remains committed to the opportunities in North and East India and intends to facilitate future growth by continuing to actively progress finding the right Developmental Licensee (DL) for the region,” MIPL said in a statement.

According to an ET Retail report, the terms of the deal include the settlement of the contentious US$330 million claim by CPRL.

Following the acquisition, two potential partners are said to be in talks to run McDonald’s operations in north and east India.

Bakshi signed the JV as an equal equity partner with McDonald’s Corporation in 1995.

Bakshi is also said to be in talks with US burger chain, Wendy’s, to acquire the fast food chain’s franchise rights in the country which currently runs less than 10 outlets in India and has shelved plans of opening 40-50 outlets as planned earlier.