Packets of French fries sit in the kitchen before serving to customers at a McDonald’s outlet. (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Connaught Plaza Restaurant Opens Closed Outlets, McDonald’s Flags Food Safety Flaws 

McDonald's estranged partner Vikram Bakshi today said 16 out of 84 closed outlets in North and East India have reopened after a new logistics firm was roped in even as the fast food major alleged lapses in food quality and safety level by “all facets of the supply chain”.

Nearly 84 outlets, mostly in East India and some in north, had to down shutters on Monday after Bakshi-led CPRL's logistics partner Radhakrishna Foodland discontinued its supply services alleging reduction in volume and non-payment of certain dues, among others.

Bakshi, who has roped in a new logistics vendor to resume supply to the affected outlets, however, denied the charges, saying Radhakrishna Foodland in collusion with McDonald’s India is trying to hurt the business and there in no regular payment default.

Bakshi-led CPRL, the 50:50 joint venture franchise with McDonald's, runs 169 outlets in North and East India even after the food chain in August terminated the agreement over management issues, among others, saying the termination is illegal and the outlets will run till the courts decide in the matter or there is an amicable solution with McDonald's India.

“CPRL team is working diligently to have all our outlets re-opened the soonest possible,” Bakshi told PTI, hinting that in about a week, all the closed outlets will start operating in full force.

McDonald's India, however, said the unknown distribution centre is not approved by it and post termination of franchise pact with CPRL, it has not been able to verify if the outlets are complying with applicable McDonald's food safety, supply and operations standards.

"Food quality and safety are affected by all facets of the supply chain, from raw material sourcing and production to manufacturing to restaurant handling and preparation," a McDonald's India spokesperson said.

Both the parties are fighting the battle at various courts, including the NCLT and the Delhi High Court as also the London Court of Arbitration.

The major tussle started after Bakshi was ousted as the MD of CPRL in 2013, following which he approached the NCLT, which reinstated him to his position. McDonald's has challenged the same in the appellate tribunal NCLAT.

On the other hand, Bakshi has challenged termination of the franchise agreement and both the parties are fighting it out at the respective courts.

Meanwhile, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has asked Bakshi to sell his stake in the JV firm CPRL to McDonald's, which is pending at the Delhi High Court.