Yearly Archives: 2015

6 years ago Newsroom

Dubai, Milano and Abu Dhabi: our journey into the world of Trade Fairs (infographics)

Dubai (Middle East Franchise Expo), Milano (Salone Franchising), Abu Dhabi (International Franchise Conference & Exhibition) and Milano again (Host hospitality fair). 

Events and exhibitions are undoubtedly very important occasions for companies and entrepreneurs interested in creating new synergies, giving birth to new ventures, expanding their business and meeting new partners and strategic suppliers.

Choosing to take part in certain initiatives rather than others, as exhibitors or as simple patrons, is not a trivial decision and denotes a very precise vision of professionalism as well as a strong inclination to seize the current trend in the reference markets.

Last October, we participated in three exhibitions: the ‘Middle East Franchising Expo’ in Dubai, the ‘Salone del Franchising’ and ‘Host’ hospitality fairs, both in Milan. Read more at Hospitality and Franchising. Last November we partecipate at the International Franchise and Conference Exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

In addition to our work at these events, we studied, reasoned and synthesized collected data into three infographics that summarize and compare our overall experience at the Middle East and North Africa fairs with the Italian ones.

MEFE is a premier event dedicated to the franchise sector in the Middle East and is organized byMENAFA – the Middle East & North Africa Franchise Association of franchisors, franchisees, and service providers and where our CEO Norman Cescut is Ambassador to Italy.

In a span of two days, around 2,500 people visited the stands of 60 exhibitors in search of information, business ideas, business cards, brochures and inspirations.

The event saw the closing of 11 official contracts – a very positive signal that confirms, if necessary, how beneficial the economic situation in certain territories is and how many opportunities are up for grasps for those who decide to focus on creating an original and well structured brand.

The food sector continues to be the most attractive option for investors; more importantly, it produces the maximum proposals – a growing trend that openly negates the popular opinion held by many who bet on the explosion of the ‘bubble’ in this sector.

We enjoyed and appreciated the event particularly because it was reserved entirely for professionals looking to explore, conduct and grow their business. Stands selling trinkets, gadgets and other equipment, often seen at other business fairs, were totally absent.

Now we come to Milan.

As indicated in the infographic, the event was held over four days and attracted around 13,500 visitors. In our view, a noteworthy aspect of the fair was that seminars and training courses were available for free.

We smiled a bit at the little pacific invasion of food trucks, definitely catchy and cute (we have spoken about them here – Italian Street Food – From Street Corner to Mainstream Culture), but also a symbol of Italian increasingly stagnant economy that promotes the development of business, albeit with low investment and lack of far-fetched planning.

However, the interest in franchising is undeniable, especially if we look at the annual turnover figure of 23 Million Euros. Over 180,000 human resources are employed in the industry; the sector has 33% women entrepreneurs; plus, opening a franchising business calls for a minimum initial investment of only 25,000 Euros.

An alternative solution to buying a Franchise is to build a new brand from scratch. This requires testing the business model, doing development work and taking advantage of the great attraction that ‘Italian style’ enjoys around the world, particularly in emerging countries.

As for Host, the numbers were strikingly different: more than 150,000 visitors, of which 40% were foreigners, compared with nearly 2,000 exhibitors, with a high percentage of Italian brands. We were impressed by the increased focus on the environment, sustainability and recycling, found in several proposals. This year, however, we recorded a low rate of innovation in both concepts and technologies, compared to the previous years.

6 years ago Newsroom

Signing of cooperation agreement between MENAFA & ALNIMR International Exhibition

Dubai – On November 25th 2015 the agreement of cooperation between MENAFA and ALNIMR International Exhibition was signed. This agreement aims at fruitful collaboration between both entities to host the first franchise Exhibition & Forum in Muscat, Oman on May 9th – 11th 2016.
Dr. Khalid Al Sharfa, Chairman of MENAFA and  Salim Al Hashmi, Chairman of ALNIMR International Exhibition have signed the agreement in Dubai representing the two organizations. Right after the agreement was signed, a positive discussion followed concerning the best possible ways of the event realization. The agreement offers mobility possibilities also guarantees for the continuation of cooperation in the field of franchise development programs and ongoing support for SME’s in Oman & the region.
Looking forward to make this event and future events satisfactory for all parties involved.

6 years ago Newsroom

The BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Looking for a unique London experience? The traditional English past time of Afternoon Tea just got a whole lot more exciting thanks to BB Bakery’s new Parisian-inspired Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. Enjoy High Tea while taking in the city’s most iconic landmark spots including The London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Marble Arch and more, all from the comfort of a vintage London 1960 Routemaster bus!

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Launched early last year, capture the heart of the city’s culture and history while sipping on tea and filling up on tasty sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Your uniformed driver will pick you up from the Trafalgar Square to begin your 90 minute tour – all you have to do it sit back, eat, drink and take in the sights. Whether you’re a party of two or twenty, you can select your seat and deck preference when booking. For those celebrating a special occasion, the entire bus is also available for private hire – it’s the perfect venue for weddings, corporate events, hen parties, birthdays and graduations.

Rachel and Matthew Wedding 2013

Rachel and Matthew Wedding 2013

A family-owned bakery based in Covent Garden, BB Bakery is the brainchild of Brigitte Bloch, or BB, who is the beauty and brains behind the décor, ambiance and general feel of the bakery. Dedicated to finding a unique location in which to offer Afternoon Tea, BB and her son Cedric finally decided to settle in London to launch this stunning patisserie having spent years travelling the world.

BB Bakery Bus London

BB Bakery Bus London

From £45, they also offer gluten free, vegetarian and Halal Afternoon Teas, for further information please visit

  1      IMG_9434Bus

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BB Bakery Bus Shoot 2014

BB Bakery Bus Shoot 2014

For press information or images, please contact Sanjiv at M+M Management on

020 7823 3723 or email

6 years ago Newsroom

Kuai opens in Dubai’s Boxpark district

Homegrown concept, Kuai, has opened its first outlet at Jumeirah’s alfresco shopping district, Boxpark.

The restaurant aims to offer flavours from the side-streets of China is a casual setup. Also, it insists on using quality ingredients and will only use products free from any MSG additives, despite the fastcas vibe of the restaurant. It will also offer gluten free options.

Yang’s menu for Kuai is inspired by the traditions the Far East set in motion centuries ago, and will include both traditional classics and modern twists. It will include both traditional classics and fusions perfect for sharing or as a meal for one.

Menu highlights include honey grilled seabass, crispy oatmeal shrimp and espresso mochi Ice-cream amongst others.

6 years ago Media Publications , Newsroom

Signing of cooperation agreement between MENAFA and Khalifa Fund

Abu Dhabi – On August 18th 2015 the agreement of cooperation between MENAFA and Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development was signed. This agreement aims at fruitful collaboration between both entities in the activities of Franchise Development Program for the development of SME’s enterprises.

The signing ceremony was attended by Saer Imad, Sr. Manager of Enterprise Development & Support – Dept. of Khalifa Fund & Budoor Wahidi, Manager of the project represented Khalifa Fund in the presence of the franchise applicants.

Right after the agreement was signed, a discussion followed with the applicants concerning the best possible ways of the project realization. The program offers mobility possibilities also guarantees for the continuation of the development program and ongoing consultancy for SME’s.
Looking forward to make this agreement satisfactory for all parties involved.

6 years ago Newsroom

توقيع اتفاقية تعاون بين جمعية الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا لحقوق الإمتياز التجاري (منافع) وصندوق خليفة لتطوير المشاريع

أبو ظبي – ضمن مساعيها للتعاون مع الجهات المختصة لتوحيد وتطوير قطاع حقوق الإمتياز التجاري ودعم أصحاب المشاريع الصغيرة والمتوسطة، وقّعت “منافع” اتفاقية تعاون مع “صندوق خليفة لتطوير المشاريع” تضمّنت تحديداً لإطار التعاون المشترك بين المؤسستين في مجال تزويد أعضاء صندوق خليفة من المستثمرين الشباب ببرامج تطوير المشاريع وتهيئة أعمالهم للتحول لنموذج

حقوق الامتياز التجاري ‘الفرينشايز”

وقع الاتفاقية من جانب “منافع” مسؤول تطوير المشاريع، ووقّع من جانب “صندوق خليفة لتطوير المشاريع” سعادة عبدالله سعيد الدرمكي، الرئيس التنفيذي ومن الجانب الثالث السادة الأعضاء المستفيدين من برنامج التطوير وذلك بحضور السيد ثائر عماد، مدير أول في قطاع المساندة والسيدة بدور وحيدي مديرة المشروع وبعض مديري الإدارات والأقسام من الطرفين

وتتضمّن الاتفاقية المبرمة بين الجانبين تحديداً لأدوار ومسؤوليات كل طرف استناداً على القوانين واللوائح المعمول بها في مجالات برامج تطوير المشاريع والبرامج التدريبية. كما تتيح الاتفاقية للأطراف المشاركة فرص تبادل الخبرات التقنية والعلمية وإعداد البرامج الحديثة في مجال تهيئة المشاريع الصغيرة والمتوسطة وتحويلها الى نموذج ‘الفرينشايز’

وتأتي هذه الاتفاقية وفق الرؤية المستقبلية التي تسعى “منافع” إلى تحقيقها بهدف تعزيز دورها كجهة داعمة لقطاع حقوق الامتياز التجاري في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بشكل خاص والمنطقة العربية بشكل عام، وتوجيه جهودها للتنسيق مع الجهات المعنية حرصاً على الاضطلاع بدورها ومسؤولياتها على الوجه الأكم

6 years ago Media Publications , Newsroom

1st Arabic Press Release – 2nd ME Franchise Expo 2015

Arabic Release 3

6 years ago Newsroom

Healthy Growth: Kcal Healthy Fast Food Gets Started On Its Middle East Expansion

It’s not often that one gets to see the words “healthy” and “fast food” legitimately associated with each other, but co-founders Mark Carroll and Andreas Borgman have managed to do just that (and achieve success as well) with their Dubai-headquartered food and lifestyle company, Kcal Healthy Fast Food. While Kcal’s restaurants have become known as a wholesome, nourishing, and yes, tasty alternative to the regular fast food outlets seen in this part of the world, its Kcal Extra division helps people lead better lifestyles by delivering bespoke healthy meals directly to their homes.

Since its launch in the UAE in 2010 with a workforce of just 12 people, Kcal is today a 350-member enterprise with seven restaurants in the country, and it is now all set to expand its operations in the Middle East with the launch of its first non-UAE franchise in Egypt. Given the political situation of the country, the choice of Egypt to launch Kcal’s Middle East expansion may seem like a curious one, but Carroll and Borgman say the research they did about the nation convinced them it was the right place to grow their business in the region.

“When we started looking at Egypt, it wasn’t a great time,” Borgman remembers. “At first, we weren’t sure if it was the right market to start our global roll-out in, but our minds were changed after we visited the country. We saw an energetic country with huge potential, and of course, people always need to eat. We conducted a thorough market study, which involved analyzing demographics, consumer behavior trends and competitors, and realized Egypt was perfect for Kcal. We have also partnered up with a franchise partner who is aligned with our beliefs.”

But Kcal’s launch in Egypt marks just the start of the company’s growth plan. “We have an aggressive expansion plan for 2015,” Carroll says. “We want to roll out more Kcal Healthy Fast Food restaurants in Dubai, and we are planning to launch Kcal Healthy Fast Food and Kcal Extra in the other Emirates [of the UAE] and throughout MENA. 2015 will see us opening franchises in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan. These are areas we have identified, and [we] are in the closing stages with franchise partners.” And the Kcal team is leaving no stone unturned in their attempt to ensure a streamlined, strategic rollout of their various franchises in the region. “We have partnered with the reputed franchising consultant, Francorp Middle East,” Carroll says. “Working alongside them, we are working toward implementing a sustainable franchising model. Within our franchises, we have area coordinators and a franchise team, which will ensure proper quality standards are being adhered to.”

“In order to ensure the same standards and quality [across all our branches], we pride ourselves on having a detailed franchising manual describing operational procedures, marketing strategies, hiring policies and everything else that needs to be kept in mind about the Kcal brand,” Borgman explains. “I’d also say that having a good solid working relationship with our franchise partners is key, allowing for communication lines to be open. Having the right team makes it so much easier.” But that’s not to take away from the important roles Carroll and Borgman are playing in building and growing the Kcal brand- the two of them are strong proponents for a holistic approach toward healthy living and active lifestyles.

Co-founders Mark Carrroll and Andreas Borgman

Co-founders Mark Carrroll and Andreas Borgman

“As obesity numbers reach alarming heights globally, urbanization and the sedentary modern lifestyle are not helping the world cope with its obesity problems,” Borgman says. “We have identified that there is real need for real food and healthy alternatives in the fast food category, particularly in the MENA countries. Kcal Healthy Fast Food fulfills that need.”

“Today, Kcal is more than just a foodie company,” Carroll says. “Kcal embodies a life- style that caters for all those who want to eat well and feel good about themselves. Fast food needn’t be boring or restrictive. Quite the opposite, because with Kcal, you don’t need to sacrifice the food you love to be healthy. We’re passionate about conveying this message, which lies at our very core. We want to capture hearts and minds, not just locally or regionally, but globally. We want to make the world a better place. And we believe Kcal is just what the world has been waiting for. Eat well. Be well. That’s all it boils down to, really.”

6 years ago Newsroom

Marka Signs Dhs 31m Franchise Deal For Ice Cream Brand Morelli’s Gelato

Dubai-based retail and hospitality firm Marka announced that it has acquired the Middle Esat franchise operations of luxury ice cream brand Morelli’s Gelato.

The deal was worth Dhs 31m, the company said in a statement.

The acquisition, which includes five outlets, will be integrated into Marka’s dedicated food and beverage division Marka Hospitality. Post the deal, Marka said that it will expand the brand by opening 17 additional Morelli’s Gelato outlets in the MENA region by 2020.

“Morelli’s Gelato is an important addition to Marka’s hospitality portfolio,” said Marka’s CEO Nick Peel.

“It is a renowned and profitable brand with a solid growth trajectory and an experienced and entrepreneurial management team. Morelli’s has an enviable operational and financial reputation and is a perfect fit with Marka’s next phase of growth and expansion.”

Morelli’s started as an ice cream parlour in England and later was established in locations such as Cafe de Paris in Monte-Carlo, Harrods Candy Store and more recently Covent Garden in London.

Currently franchised in the Middle East through Gourmet Gulf Food, Morelli’s outlets are located at Dubai Mall, The Beach opposite JBR, Bahrain City Centre, The Avenues mall in Kuwait and Mall of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. A sixth store is being planned at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates.

Apart from the UAE, Marka added that it is also planning to expand Morelli’s to other new markets such as Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The expansion is in line with the company’s strategy of placing a selective focus on markets that combine luxury with economic growth, Marka said.

Marka, which has acquired a number of top brands such as UK-based e-commerce site Icons and Reem Al Bawadi chain of restaurants, has said that it finds the region’s food and beverage sector the most attractive to invest in.

The Dubai-listed firm has invested up to Dhs 600m this year in acquisitions and is planning to invest Dhs 250m by the end of this year, officials said.

At the time of its listing in April last year, Marka said that it aims to open more than 100 fashion stores, restaurants and cafes in the GCC over the next five years.

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