McDonald's 'blatantly' ignores food quality issues, follows different food standards for India: Vikram Bakshi

Earlier this week, CPRL's logistics partner Radhakrishna Foodland stopped the supply that led to the shutdown of all McDonald's outlets in East India.

McDonald's India partner Vikram Bakshi on Thursday hit out at the fast food major, saying it follows 'different standards' for India compared to other countries and continuously ignored the food quality concerns raised by him in the past four years. His remarks came hours after McDonald's suggested that CPRL's new logistic vendor may pose risk to McDonald's food quality and safety standards.

Bakshi said: "It appears that McDonald's have global standards for food safety and supplies, and they have a very different set of standards for countries like ours which is a clear double standard."

Fight between McDonald's and its India partner Vikram Bakshi has been going on for a few years. However, the latest round of exchanges started earlier this week after CPRL's logistics partner Radhakrishna Foodland stopped the supply that led to the shutdown of all McDonald's outlets in East India.

Vikram Bakshi blamed McDonald's for the 'abrupt supply disruptions' and partnered with a new logistics vendor ColdEX. Bakshi's move did not go well with McDonald's. The fast food giant alleged it had not approved the new vendor. McDonald's said: "Using unapproved vendors for the supply chain is creating serious compliance risks to McDonalds standards for food quality and safety."

To which Bakshi responded, saying that issues concerning public health have been blatantly ignored by McDonald's with no responses, visits or actions on food safety. "It is indeed ironic that the conscience of McDonald's has suddenly awakened to quality and food safety in India, when for the past four years, CPRL has been bringing to their attention, including their CEO, Steve Easterbrook, issues of the same, without extracting a single response or visit from them," Bakshi said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Radhakrishna Foodland had discontinued its supply services alleging reduction in volume and non-payment of certain dues, among others. Termination of supplies affected about 100 restaurants in East and North India. Bakshi said this was a pre-planned step in collusion with McDonald's and their wholly owned subsidiary in India MIPL. Later, NCLT-appointed CPRL administrator asked Radhakrishna Foodland to resume the supply services as the termination was in contravention of the NCLT judgement that ordered for smooth functioning of the CPRL restaurants without any hindrance.

The fight between McDonald's and Bakshi began in 2013 after fast food giant removed Bakshi as the Managing Director of CPRL. The National Company Law Tribunal later reinstated him and also refrained McDonald's from interfering in the functioning of CPRL besides appointing an administrator to oversee the smooth functioning of CPRL. The battle which gained momentum after Bakhshi's ouster turned ugly when McDonald's India terminated the franchise agreement of 169 outlets this year in August. Both the parties are now fighting out their case in various legal forums including NCLT, NCLAT and Delhi high court. Meanwhile, Bakshi continues to operate the outlets.
(With inputs from PTI)