Dubai firm plans Marco Pierre White brand growth

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The Dubai-based operator of Marco Pierre White’s portfolio of restaurants is looking to open up to 15 new outlets globally after purchasing worldwide branding rights from the UK celebrity chef.

RMAL Hospitality’s deal with White includes the rights to the upmarket Wheeler’s of St James, Steakhouse & Grill and Frankie’s eateries in all territories excluding the UK and Ireland.

RMAL currently runs White’s three restaurants in the UAE and one in Abu Dhabi, and was seeking partners both in the Middle East and internationally, which would invest in and pay a license fee to operate the outlets.

”Realistically we’re probably looking at a time frame of about three years for about ten to 15 outlets,” RMAL chief operating officer Walter Hall told Arabian Business.

The new eateries include a Wheeler’s in Abu Dhabi, which RMAL is still in negotiations for, but expects to open in the early part of 2014. RMAL said it was also seeking to open a White restaurant on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, although progress on this was still in a premature stage.

Hall said that RMAL did not have a specific plan in terms of new territories, but expected new restaurants to “initially... flower from the Middle East”. He added that many of the new outlets would likely be located within hotel complexes, rather than standalone outlets, and that alcohol was integral to the restaurants’ offering.

RMAL declined to say how much it had paid for the rights to the Marco Pierre White brand, but said that the length of the agreement with “indefinite”.

The company said that it expected the White brand was sufficiently recognisable to be exported to a number of worldwide markets.

“Marco is a global brand,” said RMAL CEO Anthony Liddiard. “He’s done TV series in the states, he’s in talks for a Hollywood film on his life. He’s known throughout a lot of international markets.”

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