One of the world’s wealthiest men is launching Pret A Manger in India, adding the British coffee and sandwich chain to his vast business empire that includes energy, retail, and telecommunications.
On Thursday, a unit of Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries announced a “long-term master franchise partnership” with Pret A Manger that will “launch and build the brand in India.”
According to Darshan Mehta, managing director of Reliance Brands, the partnership is based on the “strong growth potential” of the Pret brand and India’s food and beverage industry.
India, with its 1.3 billion people and rapid growth, is a key market for international food brands, including coffee shops. Starbucks (SBUX) opened its first store in India in 2012, collaborating with a unit of India’s largest conglomerate Tata Group.
Pret A Manger, which means “ready to eat” in French, has a strong brand recognition in the South Asian country, according to Mehta.
Pret A Manger first opened its doors in London in 1986 and now has over 500 locations in the UK, US, France, Dubai, and Hong Kong. It announced plans last September to double the size of the business in five years, including expansion into five new markets by the end of 2023.
Reliance Brands stated that it would “open the food chain across the country, beginning with major cities and travel hubs,” but a spokesperson declined to provide additional information.
This is not Ambani’s first agreement with a major British brand. Reliance purchased the iconic toy store Hamleys from its Chinese owner C Banner International in 2019 for approximately £68 million ($88 million).
Ambani is currently worth $93 billion, making him the second richest Indian and the ninth richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.