Jan 08, 2013
Just Falafel hungry for more after opening first UK restaurant
The UAE-based fast food chain Just Falafel has opened its first store outside the Middle East.
The branch on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden, London, is the first of around 200 outlets the brand aims to open in the UK.
Worldwide it has agreed franchises for around 650 restaurants, which will be rolled out over the next five years.
"Covent Garden is one of the most prominent retail and tourist destinations in London," said the company's chief executive, Fadi Malas.
The branch opened on Monday and did well on its first day, he added.
"We have another couple of locations that we have already secured. We have another one in Leicester Square. That's a really nice location as well. We also have Hammersmith secured and Baker Street I think is almost secured."
The chain aims this year to open around 20 outlets in the UK, in addition to restaurants in other markets.
"We are going to be opening in Cambridge soon. We already have some franchise partners in Dublin in Ireland. We are looking at locations pretty much across all the prominent retail environments," said Mr Malas.
"We are getting requests literally from all the corners of the world," he added.
The news of the opening comes weeks after the chain collected a host of awards, including Business Innovator of the Year and Business Star of the Year. Mr Malas was also named the Arab Entrepreneur of 2012.
"Recognition from our peers as one of the Middle East's most progressive emerging businesses just ahead of the opening of our Covent Garden flagship location demonstrates the tremendous momentum that Just Falafel generated in 2012," said Mr Malas.
He said 2013 was a year of catching up with other markets it has sold into. It aims to open in up to seven new markets in total this year.
In addition to its new London branch, Just Falafel has 25 outlets in the UAE, the first of which it opened in Abu Dhabi in 2007.
"We definitely be opening in a few countries which we have already sold into. But I can't speculate on where we will decide to go," added Mr Malas.