Dabur scion Amit Burman’s Lite Bite Foods has acquired London-based Italian restaurant Scalini, a regular haunt for footballers and other celebrities . Burman plans to take Scalini , a privately held fine dining eatery located in the tony neighbourhood of Chelsea , international by opening doors in Moscow, Dubai and India over the next one year . Lite Bite already operates restaurant chains such as Punjab Grill and Zambar in India , where the food & beverage sector is witnessing frenetic investment activity as urban middle class spends more on eating out. Talking to TOI, Burman , vice-chairman of Dabur and promoter of Lite Bite Foods, said , “Scalini is an iconic restaurant in London and we thought it is a kind of brand which has the potential to be taken outside of the UK. It will always play in the niche’ space so we will look at Mumbai and Delhi along with exploring overseas presence .” He did not disclose financial details of the transaction , but said the two-decade-old Scalini has “healthy revenue and profits” . Burman said it made sense to spot such properties internationally and build them as asset valuations as the domestic market had become very steep . Lite Bite Foods made overseas foray by opening Punjab Grill in Singapore two years ago .
Several rich Asian businessmen have stepped into the European F&B space of late . Dubai-based NRI tycoon Micky Jagtiani , founder of Middle Eastern retail and leisure group Landmark , snapped up niche high end restaurant chains like Carluccio’s in recent years . Lite Bite is expected to close the current financial year at a Rs 150-crore turnover , and looks to double it by next year with the help of 30 new outlets it will open at the new Mumbai International airport terminal later this year . It currently operates 65 outlets, which include franchisee formats such as Subway and Pollo Campero along with its own brands including Asia 7, Rapps , Big Gulp and Bakers Street . “Casual dining and QSR formats are still the biggest chunk of the F&B industry as there is a limited clientele one can tap for fine dining niche restaurants . However , that is likely to change as the market matures ,” said Deepesh Garg , director at Mumbai-based investment bank o3 Capital Advisors .
India’s organized F&B retail market is estimated to be around Rs 5,000 crore in size and is growing at 15-20 % per annum , making it an attractive for players like Lite Bite, aventure founded in 2008 by Burman a along with Tejpavan Gandhok and Rohit Aggarwal . Global fine-dining brands such as Hakkasan and Megu have forayed into the country along with a slew of quick service restaurants as more urban Indians experiment with different cuisines .