When Indian diners order biryani online from Rebel Foods, they’re greeted with a culinary record of the fragrant, slow-cooked rice dish. “The recipe turned into lost for all time whilst King Cyrus laid siege to Behrouz until it becomes observed among the ruins,” the story reads in the component. “With this Biryani, we’ve got introduced again to life this lost recipe.” Diners are invited to read the entire account, which extends to 14 chapters and describes a protracted battle between historical Persian kingdoms.
The entire thing is made up—a canny exercising in fable-making that has helped flip the meal (named Behrouz after the fictional conflict) into a top-vendor and the primary branded version of India’s unofficial countrywide dish.
Rebel Foods calls itself the World’s Largest Internet Restaurant Company, a boast that’s difficult to disprove due to the fact there aren’t many chains pretty adore it. Founded by using a McKinsey & Co. Alumnus named Jaydeep Barman, the enterprise serves a dozen special menus with the whole thing from cheese-loaded Italian pizzas to ninety-nine versions of the dosa, a famous south Indian lentil-and-rice crepe.
All of the food is cooked in greater than 200 cloud kitchens, so-referred to as due to the fact these centralized operations serve far-flung clients who’ve no idea where their meals are coming from—similar to cloud computing offerings. It’s grown to be the go-to enterprise model for food delivery corporations seeking to facet-step the prices of walking conventional eating places with seating and wait for a group of workers.
Backed via Sequoia Capital, Mumbai-primarily based Rebel Foods in July received a $a hundred twenty-five million injection from Coatue Management, Goldman Sachs, the Indonesian transport provider Gojek and others. The company, which’s valued at $525 million, says it more than doubled income final 12 months and is now increasing into Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Over the following 18 months, Rebel and Gojek will build a hundred Indonesian cloud kitchens dishing out biryani, pizza, Chinese food, and neighborhood fave Nasi Goreng. Rebel plans to open 20 kitchens inside the United Arab Emirates by using year-give up.
“Cloud kitchens are purple warm due to the fact they add a quick-shipping layer on the pinnacle of restaurant manufacturers, letting them scale quickly,” says G.V. Ravishankar, the Bangalore-based totally handling director of Sequoia Capital India. He says Rebel Foods is well placed because younger diners in India and the past are keen to attempt new foods and flavors.
Around the arena in recent years, a crop of food transport companies like Munchery, Sprig, Maple, and SpoonRocket raised tens of tens of millions of dollars only to fail. There changed into no scarcity of call for their offerings; many millennials could instead order in than cook dinner at domestic. UBS’s Evidence Lab predicts the worldwide food delivery marketplace will grow tenfold using 2030 to $35 billion. The first wave of meal transport startups was felled through steep operational costs and earnings-gobbling reductions.
Barman, who is 45, runs Rebel Foods from an office park inside the Bhandup West area of Mumbai and grows up within the food-mad metropolis of Kolkata. His career took him to Switzerland, the U.K., And France, and he realized that, despite the far-flung popularity of the delicacies from his home u. S ., there isn’t a single international Indian food brand. The effective 2010 IPO of the Indian operator of the Domino’s pizza chain became a sign that it became time to return. He ends McKinsey just a few months from becoming a complete accomplice.
In India, Barman teamed up with INSEAD enterprise college classmate Kallol Banerjee in 2012 and began a brick-and-mortar eating place chain known as Faasos that sold kebab wraps. With Sequoia as an early backer, they opened approximately 50 places. But crippling rents triggered the duo to shut down the operation 3 years later and switch to cloud kitchens. “We went absolutely darkish and saw the light,” Barman says.
The expansion hasn’t been without challenges. Indian dishes vary from one vicinity to the following—biryani recipes exchange every a hundred miles or so—forcing Barman to installation a meals lab and standardize the menu in a manner that provides consistency at the same time as catering to regional sensibilities. The fine of substances additionally varies wildly across the USA; paneer, a cottage cheese determined in many Punjabi dishes, may be greater or much less fatty and sugary. If it isn’t kept cold, the cheese can spoil quickly; it may turn tough without the proper fat content. So Rebel selected one paneer supplier and helped the organization enlarge India-wide to feed its kitchens.
Gig-economy groups suffer high employee turnover, and Rebel isn’t any exception. To ensure that workers’ kitchen body makes the character dishes always, no matter how long they’ve labored there, meal engineers created pre-prep objects together with a 36-spice biryani mixture. “That takes the judgment out,” Barman says. Each dish has been deconstructed to create a specific timeline; for example, employees can churn out dosas every two mins.
In a team-constructing exercise, the cooks huddle three instances a day and scream: “Tasty tasty, fresh fresh, that’s why Rebel is quality satisfactory.”