Cloud Kitchen brand Rebel Foods which operates 9 sub-brands including Faasos and Behrouz Biryani across 3 countries had an eventful fiscal which ended in March 2021. The Mumbai-based foodtech unicorn faced disruption in its operations due to Covid-19 lockdowns in FY21 even as it managed to raise successive funding rounds from the New York-based Coatue Management.
On the lines of major QSR brands such as Dominos and Burger King which saw a drop of nearly 16% and 41% respectively, Rebel Foods operating revenue shrunk 27.5% to Rs 405.1 crore during FY21 from Rs 558.7 crore in FY20, its annual financial statement filed with Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) show.
Rebel Foods claims to have 450 kitchens across 70 cities in India and abroad (UAE & Singapore) and generated 99% of revenue from the sale of food products. This dropped by 27.6% to Rs 400.7 crore during FY21 from the sales of Rs 553.6 crore in FY20.
The remaining 1% is earned via the provision of delivery services and the cancellation fees collected from its customers.
The drop in scale of operations due to lockdowns is clearly visible in the cost of raw materials consumed, which is the largest cost centre of the company accounting for 26% of the annual costs. Raw Material consumptions dropped by a little over 42.1% to Rs 199.62 crore in FY21 as compared to Rs 345 crore in FY20.
The management at Rebel Foods led by co-founder and CEO Jaydeep Burman implemented crucial austerity measures to bring down cost across all operation verticals which reflects in its income statement. The company’s second-largest cost, employee benefit expenses makes up 25.4% of the annual expenses and were reduced by 14.3% YoY to Rs 195.07 crore during FY21. Significantly, the contribution of employee stock options (ESOPs) in these staff payments doubled to 14.1% in FY21 from 7.04% in FY20.
Expenses incurred on sales promotion (including commission paid to platforms likeSwiggy and Zomato) were also controlled, reducing by 35.2% to Rs 143.3 crore in FY21 from Rs 221.1 crore during FY20. Legal and professional costs shrank 50.2% YoY to Rs 20.2 crore in FY21 while the cost of utilities grew by 27.5% to Rs 32.5 crore during the same period.
In total, the company’s annual expenditure was curtailed in line with the drop in revenues and stood at Rs 769.3 crore during FY21, 25.1% less as compared to Rs 1,026.7 crore spent in FY20. On a unit level, Rebel spent Rs 1.9 to earn a single rupee of revenue during FY21.
As scale diminished, its operating cash outflow grew by 29.1% to Rs 244.53 crore while annual losses were reduced by 19.8% YoY to Rs 364.12 crore during FY21. EBITDA margins improved slightly to -52.93% in FY21 from -65.36% in FY20 while outstanding losses mounted up to Rs 1,294.7 crore by the end of March 2021.
Foodtech companies were one of the worst hit businesses due to the pandemic induced lockdowns. This is evident from about 25% reduction in Zomato’s scale in FY21. Swiggy is yet to file its annual financial result for FY21, but it’s likely to have seen a similar kind of loss in its scale during the last fiscal. That pressure might have been a factor in convincing doubters within to expand offerings to include grocery delivery in the case of Swiggy, where it has increasingly invested in Instamart.
At Rebel Foods, while scale has suffered due to unavoidable circumstances, the firm seems to be in line to show a strong recovery during the current fiscal FY21-22.
The company has raised nearly $190 million in its Series F round at a unicorn valuation a couple of months ago with plans of investing $150 million in India to boost its network of cloud kitchens and further launch product lines. Focused as it is on its core cloud kitchen plus own brand model, the firm has no option but to wait out the Covid phase, and then look to capitalise big.