​Foodpanda and Rebel Foods launch Asia’s largest virtual brand partnership

Foodpanda, Asia’s largest food and grocery delivery platform, said it had formed a long-term, multi-market partnership with Rebel Foods to enable restaurant partners and cloud kitchen operators to grow additional revenue streams, at little or no start-up costs. Rebel Foods is the world’s largest internet restaurant company headquartered in India. The new digital-first F&B (food and beverage) format sees and Rebel Foods joining forces for the benefit of local and small players in the F&B industry.

Through this partnership — for an initial five years — both will aim to launch more than 10 virtual brands in over 2,000 outlets across the region. This makes it the largest virtual brand partnership in Asia, and the first of its kind in the region at this scale.

“This foodpanda-Rebel Foods partnership introduces a new digital-first F&B format to Asia. 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, “Most importantly, these virtual brands will give our restaurant partners, especially SMEs, new opportunities to earn additional revenue.”

As part of the partnership, Rebel Foods brings their culinary expertise, SOPs (standard operating procedure) and ready-to-deploy brands that are easily customisable for local preferences in any region. Meanwhile, foodpanda enables hundreds of thousands of restaurant partners and cloud kitchen operators to plug-and-play virtual brands into their current operations to grow additional revenue streams, at little to no start-up costs. Smaller SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and restaurant partners on the foodpanda platform can adopt new recipes and utilise their spare capacity to grow additional revenue streams while creating diversity in their menu offerings.

“Over the years, we have built some category-leading brands in its current markets and a full-stack operating system which integrates culinary expertise, efficient SOPs and technological innovations together,” said Kallol Banerjee, co-founder, Rebel Foods. “We are glad to partner with foodpanda and scale our iconic brands with localized offerings across their network in Asia.”

This month Rebel Foods became India’s 31st unicorn. The firm raised $175 million in a Series F round led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar with participation from existing investors Coatue and Evolvence. This round catapults the company to a unicorn status with a valuation of $1.4 billion, up from about $800 million last year.

Also read: Indian food services market to hit $13 billion in GMV by 2025

In the first phase of the partnership with foodpanda, which began in December 2019, Rebel Foods introduced four brands across six markets — Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines through the foodpanda network. Orders for Rebel Foods’ brands on the foodpanda app on average grew 40 per cent month-on-month in the past six months, with more than 200 outlets across the six markets signed up to add virtual brands to their existing food and beverage (F&B) offerings.

A virtual brand is an online-only food concept where a brand exists digitally, with no dine-in presence. It offers food that is available for delivery or pick-up from the outlet. Virtual brands can operate from the kitchen of an existing restaurant or through traditional cloud kitchens.

Through this partnership, customers across Asia can get food options from virtual brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani and Lunchbox that provides local food. There is also Honest Bowl, a newly jointly-developed localised offering by foodpanda and Rebel Foods.

Globally, the online market is worth more than $35 billion annually, according to the ASEAN Post. In its H1 2021 Trading Update, foodpanda’s parent company Delivery Hero reported that orders in Asia doubled year-on-year, as GMV (gross merchandise value) for the region grew 175 per cent, surpassing the EUR 10 billion mark. Foodpanda alone reported more than 70 million orders completed each month — sure signs that will continue to grow.

Beyond activating virtual brands, foodpanda restaurant partners are also able to tap into a variety of digital growth tools to attract new customers, boost exposure and visibility on the app to drive sales and reward loyal customers. This includes new merchant-growth features like pandabox, pandaclicks and pandapicks — restaurant partners can take control of their business growth by easily activating these growth tools via foodpanda’s self-service platform on the merchant app.

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