The Los Angeles headquartered International Coffee & Tea group, owned by high profile Singaporean tycoons Victor and Sunny Sassoon, has been making great strides in recent years and made inroads into the $100 billion plus global coffee and Tea beverage market. It was the originator of iced coffee concoctions and these helped it to achieve runaway success in America and the Far East. It now has more than 48 outlets in Singapore, 51 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and 30 in Seoul, Korea.
The launch in this year’s first quarter of three new outlets in Dubai – at the Ibn Batuta Shopping Mall (formerly known as the Gardens Mall, Jebel Ali), the new BurJuman extension and Etisalat’s head office in Dubai – is one indication of the group’s determination to expand its retail base and rapidly create an operation of similar size in the Middle East in the medium term.
Ismail Aqil Abbasi, CEO of the Abbasi group, said: “The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf franchise is a passion, not just a business. I developed a taste for its ice-blended coffees on my frequent business visits to Malaysia and decided to bring the chain to Dubai.”
The three new outlets planned will bring the total in the UAE up to 11 – the first outlet was opened in October 2001 in Dubai and there are others in Sharjah and Al Ain and consolidate its presence in the country. Vikas Sandhir, the operations manager of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, said: “There is a long way for our Dubai operations to go. But by 2008/9, when all the developments are completed and occupied and the population is that much bigger then, I believe, we will be able to compare our operations here with the likes of Singapore and Seoul.”
The UAE franchise has already done enough to convince the international owners of the brand that it has the capabilities to carry it forward throughout the region and develop a Middle East network.
It is now in the process of rolling out the brand across Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain and has already tied up local partners as sub franchisees. It is now in partnership with Prince Faisal’s Tahseel Group in Saudi and expects to have four outlets fully operational in Jeddah by the second quarter of this year.
Coffee Bean has every reason to be confident about the brand, with the UAE operations alone showing 20 percent year on year growth over the past three years. “I don’t see any reason why we should not be able to sustain this rate, or better it,” Mr. Sandhir said. “We have a winning formula and a top quality product that is different from the rest.
“We offer more than 36 varieties of tea, which include, Carnival Matta, Moroccan Mint, Jasmine Dragon and Phoenix Pearl, to name just a few. No one else is doing that. Our Ice blended frozen coffee drink – the most popular in its category in the world and our cold beverages are a class apart.”
“We expect our beverages sale to be split 70:30 between coffee and tea. Tea is a major area of difference between us and other operators in this sector. It is an increasingly popular slice of the market and was forecast to be worth $6 billion last year. We have also our own confectionery and bakery in Dubai, all the cakes, bread and savories and done in-house.”
“We continue to innovate and we plan to launch a beverage a month in the next 12 months. Our outlets are different. They are places people visit to enjoy their coffee or tea, rather than just to hang out. This is what we pride ourselves on and what will continue to define them as our planned expansion reaches fruition.”
Monday, January 10- 2005 @ 17:16 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.