Destination MENA: 9 restaurant franchises with regional potential

Destination MENA: 9 restaurant franchises with regional potential


As one exciting year for international franchising comes to an end and another begins, Farrah Rose, head of international development at The Franchising Centre, takes a globe-trotting look at some of the restaurant concepts causing a stir worldwide, from poke to Parisian pastries.


I love Poke is the first and largest healthy fast-casual food chain in Italy. The chain serves custom bowls of fresh seasonal ingredients that represent a Hawaiian/Italian/Japanese fusion. This exciting concept is proving highly popular thanks to its unique blend of healthy food and fast-casual approach to dining, which is on trend internationally right now. Its modular menu accommodates a broad range of tastes and dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian and protein diet options.


The creators of the ‘express gourmet’, this Czech brand invites us to take a gastronomic tour across European regional cuisines. The offer is fast-casual, but gourmet sandwiches, prepared with fresh, regional ingredients, and fluffy pastries, alongside other delicious offerings, which customers can enjoy as takeaways or by dining in. By collaborating with renowned local chefs, they offer authentic quality at affordable prices with quick order times under a fun and colorful brand. Available in 60+ locations.


A French café brand which is as iconic as its pastries, sandwiches and snacks. Dedicated to bringing customers quality, tasty food at accessible prices throughout the day, this franchise creates a positive, joyful vibe, as evidenced on its website, where it describes itself as ‘the happy sandwich shop.’ This, together with its diverse and tasty range of offerings, ensures customers keep coming back for more, every day.


A premium resto-café brand which brings to life all the charm and magic of traditional French recipes and style with a distinctive, creative flair. Fusing the very best of Parisian design with modern, elegant elements, this concept has been delighting its customers with its unique ‘tradi-creative’ recipes and décor since 1859. Its diversified menu ranges from sandwiches, salads, daily specials and smoothies to a traditional range of cakes and pastries, including its legendary chocolate éclair.


Offers the culinary magic of authentic Italian street food alongside a variety of generous gourmet treats. Everything about this brand is designed to delight the senses, from its authentic, family-inspired offering to the sunny, welcoming atmosphere. Suited to take-away, as well as dine-in all day, Roberta Caffè provides consumers with quality ingredients sourced in Italy and real Italian recipes at excellent value for money. Easy to open, to replicate and to operate.


From the team that brought us the world-famous Icehotel in Sweden, Icebar by Icehotel is a truly unique concept for the leisure and corporate market. Handcrafted ice bars and bespoke designs offer a unique blend of luxury and sustainability, redefining the essence of premium experiences through a truly original brand concept. Since its first year, more than 3 million visitors have enjoyed having their sense dazzled by the Icebar by Icehotel experience, with the concept now being exported into dozens of new markets.


Randy’s Donuts® has become the most recognized donut shop in the world with its iconic giant, rooftop donut making it one of the must-see tourist destinations in LA. Visitors come for the photo ops but stay for the great snacks, which have led to Randy’s Donuts becoming one of the world’s favourite donut brands. With secret recipes and expert bakers constantly delivering a magical experience, this franchise has already expanded across the US, South Korea, The Philippines and Saudi Arabia. The brand was selected by Entrepreneur Magazine as a 2023 Top 500 Franchise, 2023 Top Global Franchise and ranked #12 in the 2023 Top New and Emerging Franchises.


Established in 1928, Harry Ramsden’s is a quintessentially British brand, synonymous with fish and chips. With over 30 units across the UK and Malaysia, the brand has been at the heart of British culinary culture for almost 100 years. Harry Ramsden’s offers three franchise concepts: Full Service Restaurant; Quick Service Restaurant; and Harry’s Huts (kiosks). It also offers a license for distribution of its famous, high quality, centrally sourced products in the retail sector. The level of competition in this F&B space is minimal and the franchise offers one of the best ROI in this segment of the industry.


Part of the global, multi-brand Snowfox Group, YO! Sushi was one of the early franchisor entrants into the Japanese F&B space. First opened in the UK in 1997, it currently has more than 350 corporate and franchised kiosks in Tesco supermarkets, over 50 full-service Kaiten conveyor belt restaurants in the UK and 22 franchised locations across shopping malls, airports and train stations in France, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, Dubai and Australia. YO! also has an extensive range of high quality, pre-packed sushi and Japanese food which is sold in 1,500 British supermarkets and retailers.

Farrah Rose,

Farrah Rose,
head of international development at The Franchising Centre,

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