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Minor Food Group operates several brands in addition to The Coffee Club, including Burger King. Ryan Carter / The National
Minor Food Group operates several brands in addition to The Coffee Club, including Burger King. Ryan Carter / The National

Wake up and smell the coffee Australian-style

Australia's largest home-grown cafe chain is to open outlets in the Middle East and North Africa.

Australia's largest home-grown cafe chain is to open outlets in the Middle East and North Africa.

The move comes after a UAE conglomerate signed a deal with a Thai food group to introduce new brands to the region.

The joint venture between Al Nasser Holdings and Minor Food Group is expected to bring The Coffee Club to the Emirates this year or early next.

"There are 350 outlets in Australia and we have got outlets in Thailand," said Paul Kenny, the chief executive of Minor Food.

"We see the area being perfect for coffee and the competitive advantage of The Coffee Club is it has a wide menu of food.

"You can sit around and have your cup of coffee, then you can have a meal, then you can go back to having coffee so the space is very usable."

Minor Food operates several brands in addition to The Coffee Club, in which it has a 50 per cent stake, including The Pizza Company, Swensen's ice cream, Sizzler, Burger King, Dairy Queen and Thai Express.

The joint venture aims to concentrate on introducing The Coffee Club at first, opening about 30 outlets in the region.

"I think the other brands will depend on the partnership, where we see the opportunity and part of doing this is it is a different way," said Mr Kenny.

"A lot of companies in the region take on a franchise from Europe or from other parts of the world and they develop it and say: 'We are going to do X amount' but the brand owners are not really involved. In this case, the brand owners will be involved."

The joint venture with Minor Food Group is Al Nasser Holdings' first foray into food. The conglomerate operates more than 70 companies in various sectors including retail, manufacturing and investments in property.

"The idea is to join hands because they have got a lot of experience in the food business and they have a number of food outlets and we have the footprint in the region," said Abdulla Nasser bin Huwaileel Al Mansoori, the chairman of Al Nasser Holdings.

"We are operating throughout the Gulf region and the Mena region, so we felt this will be a great synergy between the two companies to come together and acquire food brands that we can expand in the region."



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