By Gavin Davids
Dubai-based company has 74 restaurants in development, looks to franchise homegrown brands
Jumeirah Restaurants, a subsidiary of Dubai’s state-backed Jumeirah Group, plans to launch four outlets across the Gulf and India in the first half of 2011, its managing director has said.
The openings are the first step in an ambitious 150-branch expansion plan that could see outlets in the US, central Europe and China within a few years, Phil Broad told Arabian Business.
The company counts The Noodle House, Italian brasserie Urbano, The Rivington Grill and Rice+ Spice in its brand portfolio.
“It’s only now really that we’re at a stage where we’re going to grow it to be a big global brand. We have 16 Noodle Houses open, and we have another six that we’re currently opening around the world and we’re really only starting,” he said.
Looking at the full brand portolio, Broad said: “We have 74 [restaurants] in development already and our target is to have 150 signed opportunities by 2012, and we’re well on track to do that.”
Jumeirah is scheduled to launch The Noodle House in Bahrain and Pakistan in March, with second restaurants opening in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait by the summer.
“GCC and the hub around Dubai are very strong, but we’re also in Cyprus and Egypt and Australia, but we haven’t hit mainland Europe yet, which is really a big target market for us,” Broad said.
“The US, not this year, maybe not next year, but it will be a market that the Noodle House will open in particularly well, and that’s a vast continent. And then you look at China and think, ‘could you take noodles to China?’”
The brand’s sixth Dubai restaurant is set to open in Deira this week, and Broad said that he felt that there was still space in the emirate for further expansion.
Jumeirah Group, a unit of troubled conglomerate Dubai Holding that is restructuring billions of dollars of debt, last week confirmed it was cutting jobs as part of a company-wide shake-up aimed at better meeting market realities.
Broad confirmed that jobs were cut by Jumeirah Restaurants, though he attributed that to part of the 'routine internal processes' rather than the downturn. He declined to provide further details.
Looking forward, food prices are set to be a key challenge for restaurants in 2011 as rising costs hit balance sheets, Broad said.
“Across the world, food prices are rising, customers out there see that in the papers everyday and I think we have to look at our menu and our food and make sure that we’re not doing is continually going for high price items that are going to go up,” he said.
“We’re very careful about how we do that, and you have to be careful about how you change your prices in a challenging market and sometimes, you just have to absorb it.”For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.