Indian franchisee of American burger chain Johnny Rockets seeks PE funding

The American burger chain Johnny Rockets, which entered India last year, is seeking funding of around $4 million (Rs 25 crore) to strengthen its footprint in India, sources privy to the development told VCCircle.

As per the sources, the company has given the mandate for the fundraise to Lodha & Co.

An e-mail sent to Harvinder Singh, vice president operations with Prime Gourmet Pvt Ltd, to understand the funding plans of Johny Rockets, did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this article.

"No comments," said Siddharth Bafna of Lodha & Co in response to an e-mail query.

Going ahead, Johnny Rockets plans to expand its footprint in India by setting foot in geographies like Noida, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Last year Johnny Rockets along with Prime Gourmet Pvt Ltd set up its first restaurant in India in New Delhi.

Johnny Rockets had announced its franchise agreement with Prime Gourmet in 2013 and came up with the first outlet six months after.

Prime Gourmet is a restaurant company founded by hospitality and finance industry veterans Sachin Goel, Vishal Chaudhry and Gaurav Sharma.  With decades of experience, they wish to set up 20 Johny Rockets outlets in India in a few years.

Earlier in a company release, John Fuller, CEO of Johnny Rockets, said, “With an ever-growing population of over 1.2 billion, second only to China, India provides a huge audience in a rapidly expanding consumer market. A younger population, larger disposable incomes, higher rate of urbanisation and exposure to western lifestyles are factors that point to the success of our unique brand in that country.”

Johnny Rockets plans to introduce its signature all-American offerings, with multiple vegie patty options, a focus on chicken breast sandwiches and buffalo tenderloin burgers.  While bringing classic American favorites to India, the menu also provides custom items that cater specifically to the palate of the people in the country. 

A number of big players are entering the fast food space in India. Recently, the US-based fast food chain Burger King formed a joint venture with private equity firm Everstone Capital to enter into the Indian market. Jubilant FoodWorks, which runs a franchisee for Domino’s Pizza chain in the country, has also entered the burger business as an extension of Dunkin’ Donuts brand.

However, the market is clearly dominated by McDonald’s, which entered India in 1996 and has over 300 outlets now.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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