Media entrepreneur turned investor Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures Ltd has acquired a 43.5 per cent equity stake in Mumbai-based Lebanese restaurant chain Maroosh for Rs 18 crore ($2.93 million), marking its foray in quick-service restaurant industry, as per a press statement.

Maroosh, owned by Impresa Hospitality Management Pvt Ltd, will use the proceeds to augment its footprint by opening 50 outlets by the end of next year and 300 more in four years, apart from revamping the existing 14 restaurants.

“It is our endeavour to be a company that works towards building strong Indian and Asian QSR offerings that caters to the Indian palette. This investment marks the first step in our strategy," Ronnie Screwvala said in the statement.

Maroosh, founded by serial restaurateur and food aficionado Ketan Kadam, currently operates 14 outlets in Mumbai. It is also mulling to come up with new logo and revamped menu.

Kadam said, "This investment will prove as a boost to Maroosh’s regional expansion in Western India followed by an extension in our home delivery services."

Unilazer, which was founded by Screwvala after he sold off his stake in UTV Software Communications to Walt Disney about three years ago, has so far invested in around half a dozen companies. Recently, it invested an undisclosed amount in Mumbai-based football club and training academy PIFA FC, and also acquired a 25 per cent equity stake in e-grocery retailer EkStop.

Besides, Unilazer has invested in online lingerie seller and Valyoo Technologies, which controls, a marketer of spectacles, sunglasses and contact lenses through the internet.

The QSR (Quick Service Restaurants) space in India has become hot with emergence of new domestic chains besides expansion of global brands. Many domestic QSR chains have attracted private funding in the recent past.

Most recently, Hyderabad-based fast food chain operator Red Sprout Foods Pvt Ltd, which currently operates take-away centres at its home city under the Hello Curry brand, raised Rs 3 crore in seed funding from SRI Capital for expansion.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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