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McD’s names Agrawal Group as licensee for north, east operations



NEW DELHI: American burger and fries chain McDonald’s has named entrepreneur Sanjeev Agrawal, promoter of Delhi-based diversified MM Agrawal Group, as developmental licensee for its operations in north and east India, nine months after it brought out former partner Vikram Bakshi’s stake in their joint venture.

“We have aggressive plans for McDonald’s North and East and our key focus will be to turn around the business,” Agrawal told ET. “We are looking at scale investments to re-image all the outlets.”

His Moon Beverages is Coca-Cola India’s largest franchisee bottler. Barry Sum, director, corporate relations, at McDonald’s Asia, confirmed the development.

“Agrawal has a strong understanding of the McDonald’s brand, insights into the local market, and a proven track record of driving innovation in the food and beverage and hospitality industries,” he said in an email revert.

ET had in May last year reported that Agrawal was the frontrunner to become McDonald’s partner for north and east. Both McDonald’s India and Agrawal declined to comment on the financials of the deal, or details of terms of operation.

Officials aware of the developments said McDonald’s had laid down stringent conditions for formalising a new franchisee partner for north and east. Suitors for the partnership included RP Sanjiv Goenka Group and Bird Group, besides Amit Jatia-led Hardcastle Restaurants that operates McDonald’s outlets in south and west India.

McDonald’s, with its captive mass appeal and aggressive entry-level pricing, is one of the largest players in the fast food service space in the country. The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) estimates that the food services sector will touch Rs. 5.5 lakh crore by FY21, up from Rs. 4 lakh crore in 2018-19.

After a protracted legal battle which lasted nearly six years, McDonald’s India and its affiliate McDonald’s Global Markets LLC had bought out Bakshi’s stake in their joint venture Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL) in May last year in an out-of-court settlement. Since then, McDonald’s India took over the management of CPRL and has been running its 165 stores on its own.

In December last year, Agrawal’s Moon Beverages had bought out Coca-Cola-owned bottling partner Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages’ (HCCB’s) bottling territories in Delhi-NCR and Western UP. McDonalds’s and Coca-Cola also have a long-standing exclusive global beverage partnership.

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