x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Just Falafel hungry for more after opening first UK restaurant

The UAE fast food chain Just Falafel has opened in Covent Garden, London - the first of around 200 outlets it plans in the UK.

Just Falafel's branch on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden, London is the first of around 200 outlets the brand aims to open in the UK. Stephen Lock for The National
Just Falafel's branch on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden, London is the first of around 200 outlets the brand aims to open in the UK. Stephen Lock for The National

Lunch in London’s Covent Garden was a tad spicier yesterday after the launch of the first Just Falafel restaurant outside the UAE.

The branch in Monmouth Street is the first of about 200 outlets the brand aims to open in the United Kingdom.

Worldwide it has sold some 650 franchises that will be rolled out over the next five years. “Covent Garden is one of the most prominent retail and tourist destinations in London,” said Fadi Malas, the company’s chief executive. The branch opened on Monday and did well on its first day, he added.

“We have another couple of locations that we have already secured. We have another one in Leicester Square. That’s a really nice location as well. We also have Hammersmith secured and Baker Street I think is almost secured.”

The chain this year aims to open about 20 outlets in the UK, in addition to restaurants other markets.

“We are going to be opening in Cambridge soon,” said Mr Malas. “We already have some franchise partners in Dublin in Ireland. We are looking at locations pretty much across all the prominent retail environments.”

“We are getting requests literally from all the corners of the world.”

The new opening comes weeks after the chain collected a host of awards, including Business Innovator of the Year and Business Star of the Year. Mr Malas was also named the Arab Entrepreneur of 2012.

“Recognition from our peers as one of the Middle East’s most progressive emerging businesses just ahead of the opening of our Covent Garden flagship location demonstrates the tremendous momentum that Just Falafel generated in 2012,” he said.

He said 2013 would be a year of catching up with other markets it has sold into.

It aims to open in up to seven new markets this year.

In addition to its London branch, Just Falafel has 25 outlets in the UAE, the first of which it opened in Abu Dhabi in 2007.

“We definitely be opening in a few countries which we have already sold into. But I can’t speculate on where we will decide to go,” added Mr Malas.

gduncan@thenational.ae