Different Australian retail food franchises each expand to the Middle East

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 28th October 2013

Two Australian food retail groups, Pie Face and The Coffee Club, have each announced separately that they are expanding into the Middle East, with each preparing to open 100 new stores in the region.

Pie Face to continue global expansion with 100 new stores in the Middle East

Australia bakery café chain Pie Face is set to open 100 new stores in the Middle East after signing a major agreement with the hospitality division of Dubai-based retail and hospitality conglomerate Landmark Group.

Foodmark, a division of Landmark Hospitality has committed to open a minimum of 100 Pie Face stores in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar over the next ten years. A number of commissaries will also be opened, to support specialist production of Pie Face products for the Middle East.

“We are excited that our work with Univest has led us to be in partnership with a group such as Landmark Group in this region,” said Wayne Homschek, Co-Founder and CEO of Pie Face. “The Group has a 40 year track record in the Middle East, is the largest retail tenant in the region with over 22 million square feet of retail space, over 45,000 employees and has a dedicated and experienced food services team,” he said.

Pie Face retained Univest Consultancy Group, W.L.L, a global advisory firm based in Kuwait, to advise on Pie Face’s entry into the Middle East and conduct the search for the most suitable partners for the region. Pie Face said Landmark was selected due to its strong track record for retailing in the region, its commitment to the region’s food and beverage sector and its enthusiasm for the Pie Face brand and business model.

Established in 2007, the Foodmark division operates a number of internationally-franchised restaurants within the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, including acclaimed Italian café Carluccio’s, Mango Tree, Chi’Zen and Max’s Chicken. Foodmark has also launched Zafran, a home-grown Indian casual dining restaurant.

“We are thrilled to be in partnership with Pie Face and it marks our entry into the bakery café segment,” said Keiran Mallon, COO of Foodmark. “It’s our endeavour to keep introducing new concepts to the region and Pie Face is a globally unique concept with fantastic product, a quirky brand, a fantastic business model and an experience management team,” he said.

Pie Face global expansion

Pie Face entered its first foreign market when it opened a store in Manhattan in the US in early 2012. The Manhattan store was featured on popular US talkshow The David Letterman Show and attracted US$15 million for its rollout from Steve Wynn, founder and CEO of Wynn Resorts. There are now seven company-owned Pie Face stores operating successfully in midtown Manhatten, with more sites anticipated in the near future.

Pie Face recently entered the New Zealand market with partners Julian Field and Jared Palmer, who opened their first store in Auckland on 1 September 2013. Pie Face said it will open 62 new stores across the North and South Islands over the next 10 years.

The Company said it is also in discussions with potential partners in Indonesia, Japan, India and Cananda. Australian Food News reported in June 2013 that Pie Face was set to expand into India.

Closer to home, Australian Food News reported in September 2013 that Pie Face had opened its first drive through store in Australia.

The Coffee Club planning 100 stores in Middle East

Meanwhile, The Coffee Club, which opened its first store in Brisbane in 1989, has announced its plans for international expansion. The café franchise has announced the official signing of a licensing agreement with Liwa Minor Food and Beverages LLC across six territories in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region of the Middle East.

Liwa Minor Food and Beverages LLC is a joint venture between Al Nasser Holdings and Minor Food Group. Al Nasser Holdings operates as a multi-disciplined business conglomerate in the United Arab Emirates and the GCC countries. It operates and manages specialty retail stores, manufactured steel products and provides oilfield services and storage facilities for oil trading.

The Coffee Club said the new agreement is part of its international expansion focus and aims to see at least 100 new stores opened across the GCC region by 2023.

The Coffee Club currently has 68 international stores, with 46 in New Zealand, 12 in Thailand, four in China, three in Egypt, two in the Maldives and one in New Caledonia.

“Expanding our store footprint is a key focus for us, particularly now that we are underway with our brand transformation,” said Jason Ball, The Coffee Club CEO. “International markets play an integral role in these plans and we are excited by the opportunities presented within the GCC States,” he said.

“We currently have a presence in seven countries across the world and this signing, along with the recent deal with Malaysia, will see us grow to at least 14 countries within the next ten years,” Mr Ball said.

The six territories that form part of the GCC region comprise the states of the Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The GCC States represent huge growth potential for The Coffee Club brand and we are excited by the new partnership and look forward to the first store opening in the new year,” Mr Ball said.

The Coffee Club Group’s Ribs and Rumps brand is already successfully operating in the Middle East, with restaurants in the Dubai Mall, UAE and Mangaf, Kuwait.


Pie Face one of two Australian food companies expanding into Middle East