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World’s leading franchisors eye UAE and Middle East as ‘must-be-present’ markets

United Arab Emirates: Saturday, August 24 - 2013 @ 16:01

Exhibitors have expressed high levels of confidence in the UAE and Middle East markets as franchising is coming of age in the region, especially with the proposed UAE Franchise Law which seeks to streamline the franchising sector in the UAE and infuse greater confidence among franchisors and franchisees.

Among names that are upbeat on the growth potential of UAE’s franchise industry are Dashing Diva, the well-known nail spa and boutique of US; Arabian cuisine chain Mandilicious and Vietnamese chain Barbecue Garden; franchise operator Al Madani Group (Charley’s Grilled Subs); franchise consultancies like Franchise Investment Group and FDS (Franchise Development Services) of UK, and international online store Double Agent.

“We believe that the UAE is one of the key markets for expanding the Dashing Diva brand,” said Mohamed Saad, Marketing Manager of Dashing Diva, Kuwait. “Dashing Diva expects robust growth in the UAE since there is strong demand for beauty services and products that enhance people’s physical appearance, especially through superior manicure and pedicure services.”

“Dashing Diva is acclaimed as the world’s first nail spa and boutique, which delivers high quality and innovative nail care products and services in a convenient, affordable and fun manner. We are now aiming for a larger market share in UAE and Middle East as part of a strategy to access new markets,” added Saad.

Barbecue Garden, the celebrated chain which specializes in a blend of Vietnamese and international barbecue recipes using natural herbs and spices, with a strong presence across South East Asia, is looking at Dubai as their next hot destination.

Robert Beausoleil, Director, International Business Development, Barbecue Garden, says, “The weather, culture and dining habits of the UAE lend themselves to the Barbecue Garden concept. We feel that the unique combination of food from around the world, including the best of local cuisine under the ‘all about entertainment’ theme will prove extremely popular. Fast food franchises and high-end expensive options are fairly well developed throughout the Middle East, but there is not much focus specifically on casual family relaxed dining. Barbecue Garden creates a setting for spending quality time with friends, family and colleagues, accompanied by great food.”

Mandilicious, the home-grown brand specialising in Arabian cuisine, will be scouting for investors at the Franchise UAE Expo.

“Mandilicious is in the process of opening 14 wholly-owned outlets across the UAE. In terms of franchising, Mandilicious is currently in advanced discussions with potential franchisees in several countries in the MENA region as well as in the Far East,” said Fayez Sallam Al Nusari, of Mandilicious.

“The UAE is home to major brands in the MENA region as well as an excellent starting point for international brands breaking into these markets. We expect the franchising sector to get a bigger boost, once the Franchise Law is implemented. This will produce more local brands that will also go international as well as see the entry of new lesser-known franchises coming into the region,” Al Nusari added.

Mohamed Al Madani, head of Al Madani Group of Companies, which operates Charley’s Grilled Subs franchise in UAE and across the Middle East, says, “Fifteen years ago, relatively few franchisors were operating internationally. By early 2011, 32% of the franchise units operated by the top 200 franchisors in the United States were located outside of the U.S. In addition, franchises in countries such as England, Australia, and Canada have found a high level of success in spreading their business concepts around the world. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that over 75% of the expected growth in the world’s trade over the next two decades will come from developing countries, specifically emerging markets.

“Franchising in the Middle East is growing at 27% annually. The UAE is considered one of the major countries to be targeted for obvious reasons. In terms of market demography, government, corporate laws and taxations, labor issues as well as the socio-cultural dynamics, UAE market is diverse in nature,” Al Madani added.

Prof. Soy Seaman, head of FDS (Franchise Development Services) of UK, a highly regarded franchise consultancy and publications organization, says, “Confidence has rapidly returned to the UAE and Middle East as an ever growing number of established organisations and high net worth individuals embrace franchise brands as the safest route to growth and profitability. Currently there are over 100 Master and Area Development Franchise Rights now being offered into Middle East markets. The sectors with the greatest growth potential relate to quality restaurant concepts, fast food, fashion brands and an array of retail brands.”

“FDS is on the lookout for individuals or organisations that can take on the responsibility of owning, operating and developing the full potential of FDS in the Middle East. We are looking for investors who can replicate the success of FDS United Kingdom. One of our main services is to assist established organisations and individuals seeking to acquire new franchise brands. Apart from well-known franchise brands now coming into the Middle East, there are brands like Taylor of Old Bond Street (established in 1854), one of the UK’s finest male grooming businesses, eyeing Middle East markets,” added Seaman.

Thomas L. Webber, President of Franchise Investment Group, Ltd. Says, “Franchising in the Middle East Region has never been better. I attended the world’s largest Franchise Expo last June in New York City and when I asked about the exhibitors’ international expansion plans the answer was: ‘Our next new franchise operation we hope to be in the Middle East, especially Dubai.’”

Carla Sanz Escolà, from International Dept, Double Agent, an official online shop which offers online purchases, operations, technology and customer services for top, international companies, says, “We are planning to expand the brand through our own operated stores, franchised stores, multi-brand point of sales and online platforms. Our priority markets are: Peru, Chile, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, Iran, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and India.”

“Given the special profile and nature of Dubai’s international population and business hub, we believe it is a great place to be present in and provides a gateway to the rest of the GCC markets,” said Escola.

The 5th Franchise UAE Expo will also host a two-day conference and a workshop addressed by key industry experts from the region and globe. The conference will throw light on new products, services opportunities and business trends & resources that can be put into action for rapid growth.

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Saturday, August 24- 2013 @ 16:01 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.

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