Alternative Dining Experience Restaurants Management L.L.C, announced the grand launching of the Dukkan Falafel concept, by the grand openings of its first 4 outlets in Dubai focusing on expanding their operations to capitalise on the growing franchise industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that is estimated to be worth USD30 billion.
"Modernizing, and Conceptualizing the great tradition of eating falafel, without losing any of the traditional taste and its glamour was our objective" said Rami Wardeh, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Alternative Dining L.L.C., he also added “The originality of our menu items, and recipes, the freshness of our food, and the intimate cosy atmosphere will allow our diners to re-live the authentic Falafel dining experience.”
With a total of 20 outlets expected to be opened by the end of 2012 just in the UAE, and expansion plans that includes the GCC, India, Southeast Asia, and a major development in The US-Canadian Market, Dukkan falafel will be the largest Falafel restaurant chain in the world, with more than 200 operated outlets planned by the end of 2015.
Dukkan Falafel is now offering both individual and area development Franchising opportunities, in the UAE, GCC, and India.
Alternative Dining Experience Restaurant Management L.L.C, established in 2009, operates, manages and franchises restaurants, and has ventured into the luxury segment of catering in the UAE. The company’s strategy is to differentiate its restaurants by emphasizing consistently on high-quality food and service, serving generous portions at moderate prices in distinctly designed restaurants.
The USD30 billion franchise industry in the MENA region has, prior to the economic downturn, been growing at an average 25 per cent annually, according to industry sources. Approximately 70 per cent of retail businesses in the Middle East operating in various franchising sectors have been booming in the past 30 years.
Landmark Group, the leading retail and hospitality Group based in Dubai with a turnover of US$3.8 billion, has acquired the Fitness First franchise business in the MENA region, through its investment arm Landmark Investments.
The transaction, which has been completed, includes the 100 per cent buyout of the business from current franchisee Awwal Fitness Ltd, a Jebel Ali free zone company and part of the Alhokair Group of Saudi Arabia. Alhokair Group is also a major landlord of the Landmark Group in Saudi Arabia.
Fitness First Plc is the largest privately owned health club group in the world with over 540 Fitness First clubs worldwide, reaching 1.4 million members across Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.
Micky Jagtiani, Chairman of Landmark Group, said: “We are excited about this very significant expansion of Landmark Group into the health and fitness segment. Fitness First is a globally recognised brand with an enthusiastic following that fits perfectly into our fast growing cluster of retail and hospitality brands.”
The Fitness First Middle East franchise business presently operates 16 outlets in Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Landmark Group looks forward to expanding the operations and providing the ‘Fitness First experience’ to a much larger base of customers in the MENA region.
Fawaz Alhokair, Chairman of the Alhokair Group, said: “We are proud with what we have achieved in such a short time – I am sure the Fitness First brand is in safe hands with the Landmark Group’s expertise and we look forward to seeing even greater achievements in the future.”
Colin Waggett, CEO of Fitness First, said: “The development of our franchise business is an increasingly important part of our strategy and we are delighted to partner with Landmark Group to continue the growth of our business in the Middle East region.”
The acquisition comes on the heels of a series of several growth initiatives, marking the continuous diversification of the Group from its traditional fashion retail business.
David Giampaolo, the non-executive Board Director who has facilitated the deal from a Fitness First perspective, said: “We are delighted to have the Landmark Group as our partner to develop and expand the Fitness First presence in the Middle East region. It has acquired a market leading position, and Landmark Group is a tremendously professional and experienced partner with some very exciting growth plans.”
Landmark Group opened its newly built Oasis Centre in Dubai last year. It made retail history in the Middle East with the opening of 25 retail outlets and three restaurants over 300,000 square feet of retail space, in a single location on a single day at Mirdif City Centre. Landmark Group has also launched its own mid-segment hotel brand Citymax and revealed a US$150 million expansion drive across the Middle East in the next three years.
Anuraag Malhotra, Strategic Investment Advisor of the Landmark Group, said: “Landmark Group is unremitting in its promise of delivering exceptional value to all its customers. We will adopt the same approach with Fitness First and are dedicated to the brand promise of taking everyone’s fitness personally, just as we have taken every customer experience with our established retail brands personally since Landmark Group was incepted in 1973.”
Landmark Group intends to absorb all employees of the existing Fitness First outlets in the Middle East.
Dubai’s leading property agency, Better Homes, is opening its doors to franchisees here in the UAE. With franchise offices across the Region and multiple offices here in the UAE, Better Homes has made the decision to franchise locally with the long-term goal to give its customers an even greater property choice.
“While our UAE offices cover a range of areas within the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, we want to offer our clients that extra width and breadth of specialty that includes servicing particular nationalities and areas within districts,” said Managing Director, Ryan Mahoney.
Better Homes will be considering existing real estate agencies and individuals that want to elevate their business by plugging into the Better Homes network of offices and benefiting from the brand, marketing, website, magazine, shared inventory and training. Mahoney added that, “Effectively, they can reduce their costs while dramatically improving their business.”
When asked why Better Homes has chosen to launch this initiative now rather than after the property market has made a full recovery, Mahoney explained that, “All agencies are finding the current market to be very challenging and as a result businesses are looking for ways to reduce their costs while increasing their revenue; sharing resources is really the only way to do that while maintaining a high-level of quality.”
While other property franchises do exist in the UAE, Mahoney clarified that, “Existing real estate franchises do not provide much more than a brand name, which in some cases is relatively unknown in this Region. Our franchise offering is entirely different; we not only provide the most recognizable brand in the market, we also give the franchisee almost everything they will need to run their business.”
Rumours of the Better Homes intent to franchise locally seem to have preceded their official announcement, as it is understood they have already received numerous enquiries which are currently under review. Mahoney’s feedback was clear, “We do not intend to offer many franchises to start with; in order to protect our brand, we’ll only be considering those that share our corporate and ethical philosophy; with this in mind, we do intend to establish an exclusive network of franchisees throughout the UAE over the coming year.”
Better Homes has been franchising outside of the UAE since 2006 and currently has franchise operations located in Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and India. For more information on local franchising, applicants should contact the Better Homes Call Centre on 600 52 2212.
Public Transport Agency Reschedules Bus Routes In Ramadan, Grants Sharjah Transport Franchise To Shuttle Passengers Between The Two Emirates
The Public Transport Agency, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) announced that it will carry out a series of positive changes & rescheduling of its services across Dubai from the beginning up to the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The move aims at providing better services to commuters of public buses during this period and enabling them smooth and speedy access to their intended destinations.
“Public Transport Agency is very keen on boosting its services to cope with the demand for public bus service in Dubai Emirate to cope with the religious events, official holidays and Eids, and keep pace with the phenomenal growth witnessed by the UAE in general and Dubai Emirate in particular in all fields; which will ultimately contribute to cementing the standing of the Emirate as a regional commercial and economic hub, and a point of attraction for investors, business leaders, visitors and tourists from all over the globe,” said Mohammed Abu Baker Al Hashimi, Acting CEO of Public Transport Agency.
Commenting on these changes, Al Hashimi said: “As of the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, we will intensify the number of metro feeder bus service by extending the operational time of this service up to 01.00 am (after midnight); which will enable public bus commuters benefit from the additional operational hours of the metro & bus service after Iftar and Taraweeh prayers. Moreover, the frequency of journeys will also be enhanced for all public bus routes in the Emirate”.
Additionally, Route (F50), a metro station feeder service, will be rerouted to Bus Depot (B) at Al Awir, and the path of Route (61), a domestic route (see the attached map showing the intended revision) will also be changed. In the same context, the Agency will extend the operational hours of Inter-City bus services to late night hours during the holy month of Ramadan.
Demonstrating its commitment to nurturing young local talent, du has awarded its first franchise license to an UAE-based company AST Telecomm LLC, owned by two Emirati entrepreneurs and brothers, Ali Sulaiman Al-Taher and Shahin Sulaiman Al-Taher. This is the very first achievement of du’s partnership with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme for Young Business Leaders – part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (MBRE).
The franchise agreement was signed between Farid Faraidooni, Chief Commercial Officer, du, and the entrepreneur Ali Sulaiman Al-Taher, CEO of AST Telecomm LLC, in the presence of His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO, Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development.
du has announced a dedicated E-mail address where people can apply for a franchise opportunity by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Speaking on the occasion”, Farid Faraidooni, Chief Commercial Officer, du, said: “We are pleased to award our very first franchise license to AST Telecomm LLC, in partnership with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme, confident in our belief that this greenfield company will prove to be a great success in the future. This first-of-its-kind franchise scheme is in-line with our Emiratisation strategy, giving local entrepreneurs the chance to develop our country’s SME business sector, thereby enabling them to contribute to the UAE’s economy.
AST Telecomm LLC will start its first franchise operation at Dragon Mart, where the entrepreneurs will sell du products and services through their du outlet. The brothers applied for the franchise opportunity through the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme for Young Business Leaders – part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment (MBRE) for SME Development and plan to open further outlets across the UAE through partnership with other entrepreneurs.
du is franchising 18 out of its existing 35 shops and five new franchise outlets (including the franchised shop in Dragon Mart) in 2010, which will bring the total number of du shops to 40 by the end of 2010. Riding on growing market demand for its products and services, du has consistently expanded its retail presence ever since it commenced commercial operations in February 2007 with nine outlets, now numbering 35 du Shops, located in strategic locations and covering the entire UAE.
“We are pleased to be a part of this scheme, in partnership with du, which comes in-line with our commitment to affiliate with different organisations in Dubai to strengthen the participation of UAE nationals in the business sector. This project is a great way of helping small and medium businesses to develop and grow,” said Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO, Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development.
Al Janahi Added:”This move today will encourage other entities to come and benefit from this initiative and we have already received overwhelming response from different companies. Our role today goes beyond financing as we provide SMEs with consultation in order to strengthen their businesses.”
Ali Sulaiman Al Taher is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years of professional experience in some of the largest companies in the region including, his last position was Manager Products and Services Development at THURAYA Satellite before venturing on his own in 2003. He has worked in the past with major telecom vendors such as Siemens, Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Boeing and Hughes Network Systems.
“The du franchise initiative is a bold, courageous and timely move that reflects du’s brand image and corporate values. It demonstrates du’s commitment towards a more liberal telecom sector and has come at a time when the market needs it the most”. “We are honoured to have been awarded this early bird opportunity through the Hamdan Bin Mohamed Bin Rashid program. A programme we have found committed to helping young entrepreneurs overcome almost any obstacle and reach their goals safely. We encourage everyone to join the programme and make use of their facilities and support. My advice to every entrepreneur is that this is a low hanging fruit; grab it while it is there. We will be more than happy to share our expertise and maybe a piece of the fruit with you.” said Ali Sulaiman Al-Taher, entrepreneur and CEO of AST Telecomm LLC.
As part of the franchise project, du will give support to its selected franchisees by providing them with training and marketing collateral, as well as suggesting suitable locations to set up their retail outlets. The company’s support plan aims to assist local entrepreneurs in establishing their businesses, while also ensuring du customer relations are maintained at the highest standards.