Getting Rich on the Poor Man's Meal

05/29/2013 7:45 am EST


One Middle Eastern restaurant aims to sell 1,500 franchises worldwide this year...and it has already clocked up 600, with seven months to go, writes Gillian Duncan of The National.

It is known as the poor man's meal, but falafel is turning out to be rather profitable for one UAE-based fast-food chain.

Just Falafel has sold 600 franchises worldwide since the start of the year and aims to more than double the number before 2013 is out.

The UAE chain opened its first restaurant in the capital in 2007, and started franchising four years later. It sold 200 franchises in the first year and clocked up more than 400 last year.

"Our target for this year is to sell over 1,500 franchises, which we have done almost half already," said Mohamad Bitar, the company's founder and managing director. Most of the franchises are in the Middle East.

It is setting its sights next on the United States, where it is finalizing its franchise disclosure document, a must before it is legally allowed to enter the market. "We should have it ready probably by the end of June," said Bitar.

"We are very, very excited about the US and Canada. Subway has 35,000 stores worldwide, 25,000 of which are in the US. This is where we are hoping we are going to excel for the next two or three years."

Other markets it hopes to sell franchises in this year include India and Europe, where it already has outlets up and running in the United Kingdom.

The company may be making money, but it is also working to ensure it is paying back, having signed up to support the UN World Food Programme with contributions.

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