Dubai's Man'oushe Street sets sights on Europe

Street food retailer to open in 85 locations in Cairo and Europe


After opening its first store in Dubai in 2010, Man'oushe Street, a food and beverage retailer, is aggressively expanding its operations to Egypt and Europe, according to the company's top executive.


"It is a passion that I always had to take the mana'eesh (plural for man'oushe) business and concept to every single place where we can have people taste it and make it available at their street corners," Jihad El Eit, the company's founder and CEO, told Gulf News in an interview.


The street food retailer sells man'oushe or Middle Eastern flatbread with a variety of toppings, including cheese and zaatar, among others.


According to El Eit, the company is investing $30 million for its local operations and international expansion until 2019. By 2020, it expects to have 1000 locations.


"We have had 100 per cent [sales] growth [in 2013 over 2012] and this year we are aiming for the same," he said.


Master franchise agreement


With nine locations in Dubai, Man'oushe Street signed a master franchise agreement for new stores in 85 locations in Cairo and Europe with Egypt-based Wadi Degla Holding, El Eit said.


Of the 85 locations, 35 will be in Europe (Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands) and 50 in Cairo.


"We will open our first location [in Cairo] next month, and after that we will open in three more locations by the end of June, and in Europe in September," he said. All the stores are expected to be operational in 10 years' time.


Also, the company signed an agreement with Bloom Restaurant Management to open outlets in five locations in Abu Dhabi over the next three years.


Next, Man'oushe Street is targeting Saudi Arabia, India, UK and the US



Saudi Arabia is expected to account for 53 per cent of the Gulf's food consumption by 2017, according to AT Kearney data, a global consultancy. As of 2012, the kingdom and the UAE accounted for 75 per cent of the region's food retail market.


Although some analysts have said that the food and beverage market in the UAE is saturated, El Eit says it is not.


Man'oushe Street's competitors are "quick-service restaurants," he said.


There are at least 20 fast food chains in the UAE that sell pizzas, hamburgers, sandwiches and French fries.


Euromonitor International, a consultancy, forecast the UAE's fast casual dining sector to grow from $0.2 billion in 2013 to $0.4 billion in 2017.


Consumer spending on food in the Gulf is expected to reach $106 billion over the next five years, according to AT Kearney.