Exclusive: Just Falafel Eyeing Asian And European Expansion

Fast food chain plots Asian and European expansion on top of openings in UK and North America.

UAE based restaurant chain Just Falafel is eyeing expansion into Asian and European markets this year, CEO Fadi Malas told Gulf Business.

The news comes on top of the chain’s announcement earlier this month that it will expand into North America, with 160 new restaurants planned in the US and Canada over the next five years.

“We will be looking at certain parts of Asia and maybe looking at two or three new European markets for this year,” said Malas.

Just Falafel entered the European market in January 2013 with the launch of its first UK store in London, Covent Garden.

It has so far opened seven locations in the UK including Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Baker Street, Croydon, Fulham Broadway and Romford.

The company had initially planned to open 20 of its planned 200 UK outlets last year, but Malas admitted acquiring real estate was a big challenge.

“Just like any new market it takes a little while to be able to establish how well [we have performed] but we have been able to overcome some serious milestones in the UK, which is primarily our ability to secure good real estate,” he said.

He also said the chain was still adapting its menu and market positioning for the country.

Malas declined to comment on Just Falafel’s IPO plans after an expected listing on the Nasdaq Dubai last year didn’t materialise.