PizzaExpress takes charge of UAE franchise operation as it plans expansion

Will open its seventh restaurant this summer in Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Centre Mall.

PizzaExpress in JLT in Dubai. Sammy Dallal / The National
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PizzaExpress, the UK-based chain, has taken control of its franchise operation in the UAE in its bid to expand in the region.

At the moment, the pizzeria has six outlets across the country and will open a seventh this summer in Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Centre Mall.

The capital’s pizzeria will be a Jazz@PizzaExpress concept, building on its success in Dubai as a live music venue.

“This acquisition builds on our strategy to grow PizzaExpress into a truly global brand, and I’m delighted to bring our UAE operation into the core PizzaExpress estate,” said Luke Davies, the managing director of PizzaExpress International.

“We plan to invest further in the UAE over the next five years as we double the number of PizzaExpress sites across the region. ”

About 19,000 extra food and beverage (F&B) outlets are expected in the UAE by 2019, according to Euromonitor International.

Mall of the Emirates is planning to add 12 F&B outlets this summer as part of the second phase of its Dh1 billion redevelopment project.

Other pizza restaurants are also looking to grow their operations. Russo’s, the New York based-pizza company that has four outlets in the country, plans to open two more this year.

“We are exceptionally proud of our achievements since bringing this brand to the UAE,” said Layal Chemaitelly, the corporate marketing manager of Russo’s New York Pizzeria. “We have seen rapid expansion because there is such high demand for genuine Italian cuisine in the UAE. We are opening two new restaurants this year, one in The Greens in Dubai and the other is hush-hush for the moment.”

Another pizza franchise in the UAE recently altered its franchising arrangements when NKD Pizza became Freedom Pizza.

The franchise owners ended their agreement with NKD Pizza and took over the operation with more than 250 staff and 127 delivery workers.

The chain already has five outlets in Dubai with a sixth expected shortly in Abu Dhabi.

The new owners, Ian Ohan and Robbie Vitrano, said they have created a made in the UAE brand with an ambition to go global.

NKD Pizza said that since its had ended its agreement with its previous franchise operators, its pizzas would be unavailable for a short period. “We will be back very shortly with new authentic NKD Pizza outlets, and the dedicated service you have come to expect from us,” NKD Pizza said.

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