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Entrepreneur diaries: Franchising – Ready to go global?


By Fayez Al Nusari, founder and managing director of Dubai-based Mandilicious.

January 7, 2014 3:41 by

From the very beginning, it was a conscious decision to develop Mandilicious as a concept and business model that could work across the globe. But for us, it was more a case of when to expand the brand beyond the UAE and, more importantly, how.

Having launched the company in the UAE, I had a gut feeling that international environment here would offer a great testing ground for a new F&B concept and I was proved right. With a multi-cultural target audience and an incredibly diverse offering, we had to make sure the model was right from the start – if it was, we could take the Mandilicious brand to any place in the world.

Because we were the first to offer traditional Arabian food into an already brand-crowded food court scene, franchising became the natural choice for us. We put together an attractive package for potential franchisees, with on-going support and training that went far beyond the initial restaurant designs and set up. This included assisting with site selection, raw material sourcing and a variety of other areas that would help the franchisee save time, money and effort.

From as early as the second day of opening our first Dubai outlet, we began to be approached by potential franchisees from the region. Within the first six months, we had letters of interest from across the world, even as far as Singapore, the US and Brazil. We realised at this point that in order to successfully franchise the business and to maintain the standards we had set for ourselves, it was a huge task that we couldn’t do on our own – there just wasn’t time to spare.

The plan to go global may have been set from the start, but the actual decision to move ahead could only come when everything was in a place that could be successfully replicated beyond the borders of the UAE. When we were ready for the concept to travel abroad, we needed a travel companion that already knew the franchising map and every route to make our journey smoother.

We studied a number of franchising organisations that would help us realise our goal, but it was important to find a partner that had industry experience and worked to the highest international standards and, more importantly, a company that was enthusiastic about our brand and really understood it. It is no secret how much we cherish our brand, but it’s essential to find a partner that is willing to share that passion.

So, last month, we decided to go with Francorp, an international franchising company with a strong local presence. We felt that the team completed and complemented all of the hard work that we’d put in since we first went into operation at the beginning of 2013. It was reassuring that the people there were so enthusiastic about taking us on, which further fuelled our own enthusiasm for franchising the brand over the coming year. We’re now looking forward to moving to the next level.

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