Hunch to invest in Wendy’s, Jamie’s Indian operators
Venture capital fund Hunch Ventures is investing Rs 100 crore to pick up 50% stake in two companies that operate US-based burger chain Wendy’s and fine dining chain Jamie’s Italian in India.
Hunch is investing the amount over the next three years in Sierra Nevada Restaurants and Dolomite Restaurants, both owned by International Market Management (IMM), a London-based consumer brand headed by entrepreneur-restaurateur Jasper Reid.
“We have been looking for the right food businesses that are scalable and to be able to integrate with our other assets like tech, media and our hospitality knowledge,” said Karanpal Singh, founder of Hunch. “We want to leverage all those different capabilities.”
Hunch has so far invested about $150 million in various tech firms, Indiaroots.com, healthcare venture, high-end concierge services among other entities.
The deal comes three months after Amtek group company Rollatainers had sold its 50% stake in Wendy’s to IMM. The 50-50 Sierra Nevada joint venture was formed in 2015 to bring Wendy’s chain to India.
The Ohio, US-based chain that operates more than 6,600 restaurants globally had at the time announced plans to open close to 50 outlets in In-dia by 2019, but has so far been unable to live up to the plans amid its efforts to find the right model for the country’s market.
Wendy’s currently operates stores that are less than 1,500 sq ft in area compared to about 2,500 sq ft that was opened at the time of its entry here.
Wendy’s has also tweaked the pricing strategy in India. The US company has slashed the price for its entry-level burger to Rs 29 (from Rs 100 three year ago) and that is currently less than a similar product sold by its closest rival McDonald’s.
Reid said Wendy’s has now found the right model for India and is planning to open 300 Wendy’s outlets in the next 5-10 years. The company plans to open about 80 Jamie’s branded restaurants during the same period.