Reliance Brands Partner with Pret a Manger to Compete with Tata Starbucks, Opens First Store

Reliance Brands signed a franchise agreement with food and coffee chain Pret A-Manger.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-backed Reliance Brands is all set to take on Tata Starbucks after signing a long-term franchise agreement with UK-based French food and organic coffee chain Pret A-Manger, to launch its first shop in India, amid businesses increasingly betting on the coffee culture among youngsters in a tea-drinking nation. The franchisee partnership between the two was announced last year.  

On April 21, 2023, the Indian shop debuted to the public in Maker Maxity, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. The first Mumbai location reproduces Pret’s famed London locations, with a huge eating room spanning 2,567 square feet. Ten outlets are planned in India in the first year of the franchisee arrangement. A second location will open in Mumbai’s Palladium Mall, Lower Parel, and Delhi’s DLF Cyberhub. According to the deal, up to 100 outlets would operate in India over the following five years.

Jeffrey Hyman established the first shop in London in 1983. Pret A Manger today has around 550 stores in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Dubai, and Switzerland. Pano Christou, the company’s CEO, stated that moving to India had long been an ambition. The inauguration of the first shop in Mumbai was a watershed point in the company’s worldwide development aspirations.  

The firm is well-known for producing 100% organic coffee. Customers can choose from a choice of tasty and freshly-made sandwiches, baguettes, salads, soups, organic coffee, tea, shakes, and smoothies.

Meanwhile, the Tata Group had earlier teamed with Starbucks and has now become the market leader, with 275 locations in 30 cities. The 50:50 joint venture between Tata Consumer Products and Starbucks opened 50 new locations in FY22, the most in a single year for the firm. 

Several other coffee companies and franchises have lately begun operations in India. Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee and baked products business, aims to establish two locations in Delhi-NCR in August 2022, with a total investment of Rs 240 crore in India over the following three years. The Indian coffee industry is estimated to exceed $4.2 billion by 2025, with out-of-home consumption accounting for around 20%. 

The D2C boom in India has also brought to the fore a slew of private equity-backed coffee and coffee-related firms, like Blue Tokai and Sleepy Owl. They sell ground coffee powder, roasted coffee beans, cold coffee, pour-over coffee, hot brew bags, and Nespresso capsules, among other things. 

Coffee culture is not new to the country. However, it has generally been restricted to the country’s southern region, where the majority of the production occurs. According to figures from the Tea and Coffee Boards of India, India used 1,143.61 million kgs of tea and around 10 million kgs of coffee in FY22.

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