Rebel Foods and Foodpanda partner to expand cloud kitchen business in Asia

NEW DELHI: Cloud kitchen company Rebel Foods on Thursday said it will scale its 2019 partnership with food and grocery delivery platform Foodpanda that largely operates in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan, Philippines, and Bangladesh.

The association will see the newly minted unicorn, Rebel Foods, open more of its own virtual restaurant brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, The Biryani Life, Lunchbox, and Honest Bowl in some of these markets.

The two had first partnered in December 2019, but the spread of covid-19 infections slowed down their plans to have more virtual kitchens. In 2019, Rebel took four of its brands to six markets–Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines–through the Foodpanda network.

Foodpanda will now roll out Rebel Foods’ flagship brands as well as new jointly-created food services brands in more than 2,000 outlets within Asia through an initial five-year partnership, starting in six markets, the two said in a statement. In all, they two will introduce six more brands in the market.

To be sure, each brand’s internet restaurant is considered an outlet. One virtual kitchen can have multiple outlets, housing different brands. These restaurant brands are then listed on online ordering platforms and work as purely delivery-only formats.

As part of the association, the two will also enable restaurant partners and cloud kitchen operators to grow additional revenue streams. For instance, Foodpanda’s existing restaurant partners can plug-and-play Rebel Foods existing brands onto their ecosystem.

Foodpanda, a subsidiary of Germany-based Delivery Hero, is a delivery platform in Asia that allows consumers to order a wide range of food and groceries. It works across the region with its network of retail partners, as well as Pandamart (grocery) cloud stores to enable quick commerce operations. It works with over 1,15,000 restaurants partners in 12 markets within Asia. In all, Foodpanda operates in more than 400 locations in Asia, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Japan. Orders in Asia doubled year-on-year for Foodpanda, parent Delivery Hero said in an earrings update earlier this year.

In India, however, Foodpanda has had a challenging run.

Foodpanda’s India unit was acquired by Ola for $40 million to $50 million in December 2017. However, in 2019, Ola suspended the food delivery business and laid off mid- to entry-level employees, Mint had reported earlier.

The food delivery business in India though has gotten only bigger, led by Zomato and Swiggy.

“This Foodpanda-Rebel Foods partnership introduces a new digital-first F&B format to Asia. foodpanda is always seeking new, innovative ways to change the way F&B businesses operate in a hyper-digitalised economy — we want to push our ecosystem further into the future,” said Pedram Assadi, COO, Foodpanda.

Rebel Foods, that operates virtual kitchen brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Ovenstory Pizza, Mandarin Oak, SLAY Coffee, Wendy’s in 10 countries, recently entered turned a unicorn after the company’s valuation touched $1.4 billion following a $175 million funding round. It has over 4,000 internet restaurants in total.

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