As part of an aggressive regional expansion drive, Jordan’s Eat Restaurant Group opened a flagship branch of its popular Azkadenya chain in Dubai last month.
The new branch, which is located in a shopping mall in the city’s high-end Jumeirah district, forms part of Eat’s plan to open 25 new regional outlets of the Arabic food chain by 2020.
“We have signed a joint venture with the Emirati company Gourmet Gulf covering the GCC and Egypt and we are looking to open at least 25 stores in the next five years,” Eat group CEO and owner Omar Tabbaa told Venture in a phone interview from Dubai.
Branches of Azkadenya, with their unconventional pop art themes, opened in Amman and Irbid three years ago. “We serve the traditional Levantine dishes of the good old days with a contemporary twist,” Tabbaa said. “Creativity is in the essence of the restaurant, whether in the menu or in the design and décor, and it is also the secret of its success.”
Plans are already underway to open a Saudi Arabia location next year.
As for the development of the Azkadenya brand, Tabbaa envisions developing a Hard Rock Café for Arabic food, introducing the concept of the Arabic casual diner to the region and, eventually, to the world.
“We are addressing everyone, this is one of our strengths,” the CEO said. “Our Lebanese neighbors have always been very successful in branding themselves. This is something Jordanians need to learn too, with Azkadenya being one first successful example.”