Global fast-food chain McDonald's estranged partner in India Vikram Bakshi on Thursday alleged the company follows "different standards" for India compared to other countries and ignored the food quality concerns raised by him for the last 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.
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 84 outlets, mostly in east India and some in north on Monday.
Sixteen of the 84 outlets resumed operations on Thursday after Bakshi roped in a new logistics vendor, ColdEX.
The fast food giant has alleged that the new vendor is not approved by it. "Using unapproved vendors for the supply chain is creating serious compliance risks to McDonald's standards for food quality and safety," McDonald's India said.
Bakshi alleged issues that concern public health 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," Bakshi said in a statement.
Radhakrishna Foodland stopped supply services alleging reduction in volume and non-payment of certain dues.
McDonald's India 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.
Bakshi, however, said the move was planned in collusion between McDonald's and its wholly owned subsidiary in India McDonald's India Pvt Ltd.
After Bakshi was ousted as the managing director of CPRL in 2013, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) 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 that gained momentum after Bakshi's ouster intensified when McDonald's India terminated the franchise agreement in August. Both the parties are now fighting a case in various legal forums including NCLT, NCLAT and the Delhi High Court. Bakshi continues to operate the outlets.