Retail major Pantaloon is in talks with Miami-based Burger King for the latter’s India foray. Confirming the development, sources in the know said that both the firms had been talking on the matter for a while.
A Burger King spokesperson said, “We are at an initial stage of exploring the marketplace. It is too premature to for us to discuss this matter.”
The sources said the proposed arrangement might follow a strong franchisee model in the country as Burger King has been doing franchisee-based ventures across many countries.
Kishore Biyani, chairman of Future group, which owns Pantaloon, did not want to comment on the issue.
According to the NYSE webiste, as on June 30, 2006, Burger King owned or franchised a total of 11,129 restaurants in 65 countries and US territories, of which 1,240 restaurants were company-owned and 9,889 were owned by franchisees.
The company website says 90 per cent of its franchises are owned by independent franchisees — many of them family-owned operations. It operates in three regions: United States and Canada; Europe, West Asia and Africa and Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
In December 2006, Burger King had announced that it would start its Japanese operations in mid-2007.
On Pantaloon tying up with Burger King, a retail analyst said, “Since the group has interests in the fast food business, there is a fair possibility of a tie-up.
As the group runs Chamosa food counters, Cafe Bollywood eatery chain across the country, it is a good business proposition for the company,” he said.
Earlier, there were reports about Pantaloon tying up with the Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks for its India foray. In October 2006, Starbucks said it wanted to expand in 40 countries including India.
Starbucks had said that it was negotiating the terms of a joint venture in India, with an initial focus on New Delhi and Mumbai. Pantaloon spokesperson denied to comment on the Starbucks issue.