Pret A Manger, which owns and operates a chain of restaurants globally, plans to open 20 shops in the UAE over the next few years as it seeks to double the size of its business in the next five years.
The company signed an agreement with its long-term franchise partner in the UAE, Emirates Leisure Retail, for the expansion, which is expected to create several hundred jobs in the country, it said on Thursday.
Emirates Leisure Retail, a subsidiary of the Emirates Group, owns and operates more than 300 restaurants, cafes and bars across the Middle East, Africa, North America, Asia and Australia.
“We have been working with Pret for over seven years, and in that time, we have seen the demand in Dubai for Pret’s freshly prepared food and organic coffee grow every day,” said Andrew Day, chief executive of Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI Group.
“This extended partnership will help us meet that demand across the country.”
The UAE's food service market is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 6.8 per cent between 2022 and 2027, on the back of high disposable income, rising tourist arrivals, an increasingly urban lifestyle and evolving consumer preferences, according to a report by Mordor Intelligence.
“Growing trends in the market, such as food trucks and food stalls, with the availability of various international cuisines, are also rendering a new experience to customers, thus boosting their spending on food away from home,” the report said.
Pret A Manger, which opened in London in 1986, offers coffee, sandwiches, salads and wraps, and has expanded globally with shops in cities such as Dubai and Hong Kong, as well as countries such as Belgium, Germany, France, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
The company is focusing heavily on international growth. Last November, it signed an agreement with One PM Franchising to expand in Kuwait.
Earlier this week, Pret also announced plans to launch the brand and its products in Spain and Portugal as part of an agreement with new franchise partner Ibersol Group.
Pret is also growing its presence vertically and has expanded into consumer-packaged goods as it sells bake-at-home frozen croissants, granolas, tomato sauce and coffee, with the products now available in UK shops.