Dubai- GulfNews.com : Jumeirah Branded Restaurants, a division of the Jumeirah luxury hotel chain that manages the Burj Al Arab, plans to open 150 restaurants within five years in several countries as it seeks to grab a slice of the growing causal dining business.
"The restaurant market is absolutely exploding throughout the Middle East and North Africa region," said Steven Grey, general manager of Jumeirah Branded Restaurants.
The company announced a deal in June for opening 35 Noodles House brand restaurants in India.
It has seven operating outlets under the brand and six are scheduled to open in the next few months.
Jumeirah is expanding its East Asian concept Noodle House in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Jordan Qatar and Oman hopes to have 100 of these outlets by 2012.
Sana Bonta, the Italian concept developed by the group, has one outlet in the Dubai International Financial Centre and franchise agreements are to be signed for locations in Asia and Europe by the end of 2007.
Bytes, a "grab-and-go" deli concept, has two outlets open in Dubai Outsource Zone and Dubailand.
Two more licence agreements will be signed for locations in Dubai by the end of this year.
"The demand is extremely high for quality restaurant concepts and casual dining is one of the fastest growing sectors both within this particular market and worldwide," Grey told Gulf News.
"We see an extremely high potential for the growth of the brands in going forward with our plan to license 150 restaurants worldwide by 2011," he said.
Expecting continued growth of in the food and beverage industry, Jumeirah is developing new restaurant concepts to expand its portfolio.
Countries in the Arab region are witnessing huge investments in the tourism sector, with the Gulf being the most ambitious in building hotels and shopping malls.