x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Just Falafel plans big North America expansion

Just Falafel unveils plans for up to 160 outlets in North America

A child enjoys a meal at Just Falafel. The company is to expand in America. (Courtesy Just Falafel)
A child enjoys a meal at Just Falafel. The company is to expand in America. (Courtesy Just Falafel)

Just Falafel plans to open up to 160 outlets in the United States and Canada over the next five years, the company said yesterday after signing five franchise agreements with partners in locations including New York City, New Jersey, San Francisco and the Greater Toronto area.

The UAE-based, fast-food company also said it had hired the former Burger King executive Jim Joy as the chief executive of Just Green restaurants, Just Falafel’s exclusive developer for New York.

Prior to joining Just Green, Mr Joy managed sales operations at the US company.

“Expanding in North America gives us the opportunity to capitalise on the growth of the world’s largest consumer market,” said Just Falafel’s chief executive Fadi Malas. “[Jim Joy] brings valuable expertise and significant industry experience that gives us the confidence to expand in this highly-competitive market.”

Just Falafel has achieved a reputation as one of the most successful UAE-based start-ups of recent years.

Since its launch in Abu Dhabi in 2007, the company has succesfully utilised social media marketing to boost brand awareness in the UAE and beyond. The company now operates 48 restaurants in 10 countries.

The company’s recent accolades include securing the top spot in the Dubai SME 100 for 2013, and being named Business of the Year at the Gulf Capital SMEinfo awards in November.

Yesterday’s announcements come a year to the day after Just Falafel opened its first restaurant in Western Europe, in London’s Covent Garden. The company will open its seventh British restaurant, in Romford, Essex, next week.

The company also plans to launch a number of restaurants in Australia during the year.

It was revealed in September that Just Falafel was planning to list shares on Nasdaq Dubai. The company selected the DIFC-based bourse over the Dubai Financial Market because its major shareholder did not want to sell more than 25 per cent of its shares.

The company also announced the opening of its first outlet in Kuwait this week, as well as its second in Turkey.

jeverington@thenational.ae