A virtual war has broken out between McDonald’s India and Vikram Bakshi, both of whom are trying to win over employees of Connaught Plaza Restaurants (CPRL), a 50:50 joint venture. Late last week, McDonald’s India ended its partnership with CPRL, simultaneously moving London Court of International Arbitration to settle the ongoing dispute between the two.
Bakshi is understood to have shot off a mail on Thursday explaining to employees how McDonald’s termination notice
was illegal and accusing the US fast food major of trying to coerce him into selling his equity. Company sources told FE that Bakshi’s mail was in response to a December 3 communication sent by Bob Larson, senior VP & international relationship partner, McDonald’s APMEA — Greater Asia, to employees in which he assured them their jobs were safe as was the future of the McDonald’s brand in India.
“This is to advise you that McDonald’s India (MIPL) has terminated its joint venture agreement, relating to Connaught Plaza Restaurants (CPRL), with Vikram Bakshi. Until the legal formalities are completed, CPRL will continue to be managed by its board of directors. MIPL’s intention is to put CPRL’s business in north and east of India onto a strong growth path, ensure the job security of the employees of CPRL in north and east of India, and continue to build the McDonald's brand in India,” Larson is understood to have written to the team in Delhi.
Bakshi, in turn, countered the communication: “I am astounded by Bob’s claim that its (MIPL’s) intention is to put ‘CPRL’s business on a strong growth path’. How the mighty McDonald's has behaved since August 6, 2013, is completely opposite to Bob’s claim. Their act of not allowing us to put in more funds either through the sale of our Basant Lok property or through further borrowings has reduced our openings for year 2013 to less than half.”
The letter added that MIPL had, in fact, done everything possible to bring the JV to a grinding halt by stalling and invasive tactics. “We have moved the CLB on each of these issues. As a member of the CPRL family, I call upon you to not to get distracted with such notices and only strive to do the best for our company. We have always and will continue to do our best to protect the interest of our company and its people,” it added.
Employees FE spoke