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Papa Murphy’s pizza to go – to the GCC
Fast food giant opens first store outside of the US.
September 11, 2013 6:09 by Muhammad Aldalou
Pizza giant Papa Murphy’s has announced the opening of its flagship store in Dubai, expanding for the first time outside of the US and Canada.
With the aim of “redefining pizza” in the UAE, the US chain signed a master franchise agreement with the Dubai-based MAM Foodco to open 100 Take ‘N’ Bake pizza locations throughout the GCC region, with 50 branches in the Emirates alone.
This is the brand’s first location outside of North America, where it currently operates 15 branches in Canada and 1,287 in the US.
“It is a thrilling chapter for us,” says Jim Perkins, vice-president of international development at Papa Murphy’s. “We’ve found a great partner in MAM Foodco. The relationship has been building now for well over a year, we’ve established a solid trust with the team and I’m confident this brand has the potential to do very well in the Middle East region.”
The store is located in Al Barsha, inside the Lulu Hypermarket complex, with a second branch in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers. The two inaugural branches will be soon followed by the opening of five more restaurants.
Speaking with Ken Calwell, global CEO of Papa Murphy’s, he says the decision to open the first store outside North America was not a difficult one to make.
“The region has a very favourable business climate – it’s very easy to work here, it’s welcoming to businesses and the growth potential of the population and business in general is incredible,” he says.
As far as marketing the brand across the UAE and the Gulf region is concerned, Calwell says that while they will serve as advisors and share tactics that have proven successful in the US, strategies for Dubai will be left to MAM Foodco, because “they know the market and the culture much better”.
The Take ‘N’ Bake concept
The US chain has gained popularity for its Take ‘N’ Bake concept, allowing customers to ‘build’ their pizza at the store and take it home to bake for themselves.
“In the US, all we have is Take ‘N’ Bake,” says Calwell. “But in the GCC region we will be offering both Take ‘N’ Bake and Bake ‘N’ Take. We’re allowing this market to try it, because of the unique culture here, in terms of people on-the-go and the density of the population.”