Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has come out to deny claims that it has tied with a foreign partner for its chicken restaurant business. Reliance Industries Limited in a statement on Monday, October 28, 2013 said, ‘We wish to put on record that the story is factually incorrect and that we have not tied up with a foreign partner for chicken restaurant business. We also confirm that we are neither planning nor desirous of pursuing setting up of plants to process chicken as articulated in the media story.’
The news that Mukesh Ambani, a strict vegetarian setting up a chicken restaurant chain as well as selling chicken products through Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited spread like wildlife during the past week. The fact that Reliance Retail considered venturing into the QSR segment was not a surprising one; the sector is expected to grow at 30% YoY and would represent a very healthy revenue stream and could generate huge profits.The local QSR market is dominated by globally present brands. This market, at 63%, or 3,400 crore, projected to grow by 30% due to growth in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. CRISIL estimates annual spending on restaurants in these cities to grow by up to 150% to Rs 3,750 crores per home. However, that Mukesh Ambani, a strict vegetarian setting up a chicken restaurant chain as well as selling chicken products did raise some eyebrows.
An online petition asking Mr. Ambani to reconsider his decision on ethical and moral grounds was seen soon after this story did the rounds. The petition claimed animals will suffer by means of ‘Cruelty & Abuse.’ Refuting the allegations made in the petition, a RIL statement said, ‘The story should not generate any misconceptions in the minds of our stakeholders and well-wishers. We therefore request everyone to ignore the story and its unsubstantiated information.’