New Delhi: McDonald's estranged partner Vikram Bakshi 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 for the past four years.
Bakshi's response came after McDonald's India earlier alleged lapses in food quality and safety level by 'all facets of the supply chain'.
"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," Bakshi alleged.
Countering Bakshi, McDonald's India said: "Using unapproved vendors for the supply chain is creating serious compliance risks to McDonald's standards for food quality and safety."
The battle between McDonald's India and Bakshi-led Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL) intensified after the latter's logistics partner Radhakrishna Foodland abruptly stopped supplies, which led to closure of about 84 outlets, mostly in east India and some in north on Monday.
Sixteen of the 84 outlets resumed operations Thursday after Bakshi roped in a new logistics vendor ColdEX.
Meanwhile, the fast food giant has alleged that the new vendor is not approved by it.
Bakshi said issues that concern public health of this country have been blatantly ignored by the American company with no responses, visits or actions on food safety issues that were red flagged for immediate attention.
"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," he said in a statement.
Radhakrishna Foodland had discontinued its supply services alleging reduction in volume and non-payment of certain dues, among others.
McDonald's India further said that globally, it works closely with trusted network of suppliers to uphold stringent practices and efforts over the years have been successful in consistently reducing customer complaints.
Stating that the termination of supplies has affected about 100 restaurants, Bakshi said this is a pre-planned step in collusion with McDonald's and their wholly owned subsidiary in India McDonald's India Pvt Ltd.
He further said the termination is in contravention of the NCLT judgment that ordered for smooth functioning of the CPRL restaurants without any hindrance.
After Bakshi was ousted as the MD of CPRL in 2013, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) reinstated him to his position 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 with it 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.