As fast-food chain McDonald’s India and its estranged partner Vikram Bakshi look to settle their six-year-old dispute, suitors are lining up to run the former's operations in north and east India
The RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group and Moon Beverages, which is Coca-Cola’s largest bottling partner, have initiated talks with McDonald’s for Bakshi’s Connaught Plaza Restaurants (CPRL) that runs 165 McDonald’s restaurants in the north and east, the Economic Times reported, quoting three officials aware of the developments.
Speculation is rife that Amit Jatia-led Hardcastle Restaurants, which runs McDonald’s outlets in south and west India, may want to run the burgers-and-fries business nationally.
Earlier this week, McDonald’s India and Bakshi opted to go for an out-of-court settlement. Bakshi had in 1995 inked a deal with McDonald’s to open its outlets in India. The partnership was a 50:50 venture between McDonald’s India and Bakshi’s Connaught Plaza Restaurant, wherein the latter would be responsible for opening and managing outlets of McDonald’s in northern and eastern India.
In 2017, McDonald’s India terminated the franchise deal of 169 outlets managed by CPRL citing non-payment of royalties, and asked suppliers to stop dealing with the latter. The suppliers of CPRL included Vista Processed Foods, Schreiber Dynamix Dairies, Cremica Foods Industries and Amrit Foods.
Earlier in 2013, McDonald’s India had ousted Bakshi from the post of managing director of CPRL. However, he was restored to his position in July 2017. Subsequently, McDonald’s India also challenged the use of the McDonald’s trademark by Bakshi’s CPRL. However, Bakshi continued using the brand and operating the outlets as usual, while battling it out with McDonald's in various legal forums including NCLT, NCLAT and the Delhi High Court.