Mumbai-headquartered quick service restaurant (QSR) startup Charcoal Eats has raised INR 16 Cr in a round of funding led by Lokmat Investments, a division of multi-platform media company Lokmat Media.
The funding round also saw participation from a string of business leaders from the financial and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) segment, including Nilesh Mehta, Girish Patel and Pankaj Razdan.
Charcoal Eats will use the funding to strengthen its presence in different parts of the country and invest in brand building. The company claims to have a presence in nine Indian cities, namely, Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Jammu, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata.
“In the last 5 years, we have served over 1.5 Mn orders and enjoy high customer satisfaction. The new investment reiterates our commitment towards building a high-quality Indian QSR brand and our investors’ confidence in the scalability of our model,” said Anurag Mehrotra, cofounder and CEO of Charcoal Eats.
Founded in 2015 by Mehrotra, Krishnakant Thakur and Mohammed Bhol, Charcoal Eats is a quick-service restaurant chain that delivers “high quality, consistent, authentic, modern Indian flavours to its patrons across the country across snack and meal times at affordable prices.” While the company started with six biryani variants, today, the company claims to be offering 50 different all-day food options across snack and meal times, that include biryanis, starters, curries, rice bowls, rolls among others.
Customers can dine-in, take-away or order for delivery, as per their convenience. Charcoal Eats is also available on leading food platforms, Zomato and Swiggy. It recently launched a new product line under the brand name Khichdibaba.
Since its inception, the company had raised INR 14 Cr from high net worth individuals (HNIs). With the recent funding, the total amount raised by the company to date is INR 30 Cr.
“We believe that the food industry in India will continue to grow exponentially. Charcoal Eats has successfully married interesting food concepts with superior technology and efficient operations. This will help them profitably scale up faster compared to most of their peers,” said Rishi Darda, joint managing director and editorial director, Lokmat Media.
Among QSR restaurants, Charcoal Eats competes with Wow! Momo Foods, Faasos and Hello Curry, among others.
According to a report by Google and Boston Consulting Group, the Indian foodtech industry is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25-30% to $8 Bn by the end of 2022. Among startups in the Indian foodtech industry, unicorns Swiggy and Zomato remain the biggest drivers of funding.