x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Johnny Rockets to open 5 restaurants in the UAE this year

The American diner chain Johnny Rockets plans to open five new restaurants in the UAE this year.

The American diner chain Johnny Rockets plans to open five new restaurants in the UAE this year.

The 1950s-inspired chain, which is known for its singing and dancing staff and retro decor, announced yesterday that it would increase by June the number of its restaurants in the country from eight to 13.

The California-based company said the new openings would be located in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Johnny Rockets, which 16 years ago opened its first restaurant in the UAE at Beach Road in Jumeirah, said it also planned to open a further seven diners in the UAE in 2014 and 2015, which would include new restaurants in Al Ain and Sharjah. The chain's most recent opening, an outlet at J3 mall on Al Wasl Road in Dubai, only started flipping its burgers last month on National Day.

The company said that overall revenues from its UAE business had increased by 63 per cent in the past three years. Numbers of home deliveries and online orders rose 114 per cent over the same period, and the company predicted that this part of the business would increase by a further 45 per cent this year as the new restaurants opened.

The company is among other restaurant chains looking to expand in the country. Last month Nando's announced plans to double the number of its outlets in the UAE from 11 to 22. McDonald's, too, said last year that it was continuing to aggressively increase its presence.

According to the research company Euromonitor, the UAE restaurants sector was worth about US$1.15 billion (Dh4.22bn) in 2011. Last year, it grew to about $1.21bn, and this year it is expected to rise to $1.42bn.

"When we first opened in 1996, there was very little competition in our sector and we could not envisage at the time that we would have 13 restaurants in the country, not to mention a further seven restaurants that are in the pipeline for the coming couple of years," said Wael and Zaher Samman, the co-managing directors of Johnny Rockets UAE.

"We are proud to have achieved the highest presence of the Johnny Rockets brand in a single country outside the United States. This is a clear indication that the UAE has grown into a very mature market and has thus attracted a more demanding population mix, with a higher disposable income, and this is key in helping various business sectors grow and flourish," they added.

Johnny Rockets was founded in 1986 in Los Angeles by the entrepreneur Ronn Teitelbaum in an attempt to recreate the diners of his childhood. Each store's interior design and menu imitates The Apple Pan, a 1947 diner in Los Angeles renowned for its burgers and apple pies.