Just Falafel, the first specialized falafel restaurant in the UAE, has global aspirations to become the largest franchised falafel chain in the Middle East and further afield, as the company is now reviewing overtures from potential franchise partners. Just Falafel’s founders aim to have up to 75 stores operating in the UAE in the next five years, selling the brand’s vegetarian sandwiches in a variety of ethnic guises, including Lebanese, Greek, Mexican, Indian, Italian and now Emirati flavours.
In 2010, Just Falafel sold more than one million handmade falafels from its five current UAE branches as well as through external catering opportunities for some of the UAE’s most memorable sporting events. An 8,000 ft2 central kitchen space in Dubai Investment Park is opening in the next few months to provide training, catering and a materials distribution point for existing and new Just Falafel outlets, working to the HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) international standard for food safety and hygiene.
“Falafel fever gripped the UAE in 2010 and in response, Just Falafel has invested in an international-level standardization programme for our store operations, including falafel production, store presentation, and management enhancements to ensure a fresh, healthy and professional customer experience in all of our outlets,” said Mohamad Bitar, Just Falafel’s Founder and Managing Director.
In 2010, Just Falafel’s management invested several million dirhams with the fast food industry’s tier-one consultants including global franchising leader Francorpto transform falafel from a pushcart or corner cafeteria concept to a leading, franchise-worthy fast food brand.
“Our overall aim is to elevate falafel to the regional and ultimately international standing which it deserves as one of the Middle East’s most traditional and delicious snacks, and through franchising and further investment, we anticipate that Just Falafel can be a home-grown success on a global scale for the food and beverage sector,” he added.
Bitar and Just Falafel’s Emirati founding partner Alia Al-Mazroui have received keen interest in franchise opportunities, with the first franchised outlet expected to open in one of Dubai’s busiest malls in the first half of 2011. From two initial stores in Abu Dhabi, Just Falafel now owns and operates shops in Al Barsha, Bur Dubai and at Galleries Lafayette in Dubai Mall.