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“The UAE is a step into the region. Our closest market is Cyprus, but from Dubai, we can expand to the GCC,” said Theodoros Kringou of Montreal-based Presse Café.

Similarly, Asian restaurant-chain Barbecue Garden views Dubai as an entry point to the Mena region. Its large population makes it an attractive region to do business, said Robert Beausoleil, the brand’s director of franchise.

Beausoleil continued “Mena is one of our target markets next year, adding that the brand is looking for development partners in the region. “I suspect that we will get enough [deals] to close all of Mena within a month after the show.”

The franchise market in the Middle East is estimated to be valued at $30 billion.

The UAE has around 850 local and international brands, and a growing rate of 16 per cent year on year compared to regional markets.


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