x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Giraffe ready to stand out in the UAE

A Dubai food and beverage group plans to roll out Giraffe restaurants across the UAE after opening the first branch outside the UK in the emirate.

Giraffe's outlet inside the new Concourse A at Terminal 3 in Dubai International Airport. Courtesy Emirates Leisure Retail
Giraffe's outlet inside the new Concourse A at Terminal 3 in Dubai International Airport. Courtesy Emirates Leisure Retail

A Dubai food and beverage group plans to roll out Giraffe restaurants across the UAE after opening the first branch outside the United Kingdom in the emirate.

Giraffe, a UK restaurant and cafe chain, has 46 outlets in Britain and one inside the new Concourse A at Terminal 3 in Dubai International Airport.

The Dubai restaurant was introduced by Emirates Leisure Retail, a subsidiary of the Emirates Group, which owns and operates a portfolio of food and beverage outlets in the GCC, Australia and beyond.

Emirates Leisure Retail introduced Giraffe to the UAE because it believes the country has space for a "well-known, yet refreshing brand, that offers a great all-day, family-friendly restaurant experience", said the company's chief commercial officer, Kevin Zajax.

"Giraffe have been looking at the UAE as a logical expansion for a number of years and we are delighted that Russel Joffe [a co-founder of Giraffe] and his dedicated team have selected ELR to represent them in this market," he added.

Now the outlet is doing well in Concourse A, the group plans to turn its attention to expansion outside the airport, said Mr Zajax. He did not say where the group planned to open the restaurants.

And there has already been "significant interest" in the Giraffe brand, according to Mr Zajax.

"We are very confident that the concept will prove to be as successful and popular in the UAE as in the UK but we will take a measured approach, including responding to what the consumer wants as we grow and develop the brand in this market," he added. The Giraffe brand was founded by husband and wife Russel and Juliette Joffe and Andrew Jacobs in 1998.

Mr Joffe named the chain after the long-necked animal because he liked the fact it has the biggest heart of any land mammal.

The chain was valued at £24 million (Dh137.2m) in 2006.

But the UK supermarket chain Tesco paid double that when it bought the company for £48.5m in March. "The acquisition of Giraffe by Tesco is a testament to the strength of the brand and its family appeal, and the success achieved by the business since it was launched in the UK by the founders, who we are delighted to see continue in their roles," said Mr Zajax.

"It is also a strong vote of confidence in the future of Giraffe from one of the UK's leading and most respected supermarket chains and retailers. Emirates Leisure Retail looks forward to working with both the founders and the new owners in developing the brand in the UAE."

Emirates Leisure Retail's portfolio includes Costa Coffee, Hudsons Coffee, Left Bank and Bidi Bondi. It has 190 outlets in total and plans to exceed 200 before the year-end.

It does not disclose full financial information but said its business continues to achieve ongoing double-digit growth year on year.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae