Rebel Foods, which operates a network of cloud-kitchens and digital brands, is betting big on the offline channel. The company, which joined the unicorn club in 2021, is expanding its flagship brand Oven Story Pizza in the offline space through the franchise route. This is a strategic move to garner higher market share in the fast-growing pizza segment and compete with global pizza chains in the country.

Ankit Jindal, Business Head, Rebel Foods told businessline, “Franchising is an important initiative that we will focus on this year. Our aim is to make Oven Story Pizza one of the market leaders in the category, and we are expediting the offline expansion of the brand with this objective. We aim to open 250-300 outlets over the next 2-3 years. We feel that is a good benchmark to be able to compete with the global chains.” It is known for brands including Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Mandarin Oak and Firangi Bake among others. 

He added that the franchising model fits well for the brand at this stage and will also enable the company to tap into a network of like-minded individual entrepreneurs.

“Our focus will be on opening these stores in the tier-2 and tier-3 markets. We believe there are huge untapped opportunities in these markets. With growing disposable incomes and awareness levels, consumers in these markets are spending more on dining out and food ordering. There is also shift towards national brands in the food space. They are also experimenting with new offerings. We also believe that from a real estate costs perspective, our franchise partners will be able to have profitable ventures in these markets,” Jindal added. In 2024, the company aims to open 40-50 offline outlets for the brand.

The company is bullish on the pizza category. Jindal pointed out that over the years, the category has gained traction in tier 2, 3 and 4 markets and has seen the emergence of several local-level brands adding more consumers to the category-fold.

Talking about FY24 growth trends, Jindal said, “We have witnessed healthy year-over-year growth across our 75 locations, including Tier-1 and Tier-2 markets in India and the UAE. The Food-Court App - EatSure - has also been instrumental in fueling this growth by meeting consumer needs for several restaurant options in a single order.”

Rebel Foods is also the master franchisee of American fast-food brand Wendy’s in India. “ We are also scaling up the offline presence of Wendy’s. We have 3-4 restaurants in Delhi-NCR already and a couple of more restaurants are on the cards,” Jindal added.