From corner cafes to high street restaurants, Italian food has indeed carved a niche for itself in the fast casual and sit-in restaurant business around the world. In Italy, the food franchising sector is growing at an unparalleled rate, with several top-notch restaurant brands and fast-casual food chains opening outlets not only in the country, but also overseas. There are more than 40 prestigious Italian brands abroad with over 1300 franchised outlets, specializing particularly in “caffè” – coffee – and other Ho.Re.Ca products as well as pizza, pasta and other typical Italian food.
Italian Restaurant & Italian Origin – Two Different Things!
So, the Americans are selling Italian food, the French are selling Italian food and the Indians too are selling Italian food! Most Italian restaurant abroad are, in fact, places where you eat anything but an authentic Italian dish. While you might find red-checked tablecloths, posters of Parmesan and candles in chianti bottle, seldom will you be able to savour a decent bowl of ravioli. And that is the difference between an Italian restaurant and a restaurant of Italian origin!
The characteristic feature of first generation Italian food franchises abroad is that they have all originated in Italy and strongly advocate the 100% ‘Made in Italy’ concept. All dishes available at such food franchises are prepared using Italian products (imported freshly from Italy) and in accordance with the Italian culinary tradition. So, while Pizza Hut might be the world’s largest pizza delivery corporation, in reality it is only a second generation Italian concept franchise, because it originated in the USA.
Reasons for the Popularity of Italian Food Franchises Abroad
Spanish food might be tasty and Greek food might seem flirtatious, but nobody wants to eat cold, ropey paella or a heavy chunk of meat at any given time of the day. But with Italian dishes, one can seldom go wrong! (I mean, even badly executed pasta topped generously with ragu is edible!)
Good ol’ pizza and pasta are recession-proof items, costing less than $10 at the most decent eating joints. Plus, authentic Italian food prepared with genuine Italian product, tastes almost the same everywhere. No matter where you eat a Pasta alla Puttanesca or a Lasagna alla Bolognese, as long as it comes out of a first generation Italian restaurant’s kitchen, you can smell a whiff of Italian cheerfulness and sophistication. So there are lesser chances for complaints and better guarantee of satisfaction! Then you know: Italians do it better!
Italian Food Franchises in the Middle East
The food franchise segment is one of the fastest growing economic segments worldwide and like all lucrative global markets the Middle East too is enjoying its fair share of foreign investments. The diversification of economy has helped the non-oil economy of the Middle East to grow at an incredible rate. With the development of tourism, the foodservice industry has experienced a boom too. Established restaurant brands and chains from around the world are queuing-up to open their franchises in the Middle East and bring their products, services and ‘winning concepts’ to the cosmopolitan consumers in this emerging market.
Italian origin restaurants too are not lagging behind in the race to open their franchises in the hot and lucrative Middle Eastern markets and cater to the growing demand of flavoursome, authentic Italian cuisine.
Italian cafés have been the first to grab this opportunity years ago. Some of the first café brands to make it to the list of Italian food franchises in the Middle East include Segafredo and illy. Renowned across the globe for their authentic ‘Made in Italy’ character, all these brands have their origins in Italy and with their success in the Middle East, have encouraged other Italian brands to make a foray in this region.
With cafes leading the way, mainstream restaurant and foodservice concepts cannot stay far behind. Recently, three of Italy’s most popular food brands – including the prestigious Italian ‘precious food selection’ of Italia di Gusto, the Mediterranean Restaurant of SKK and artisan Italian confectionery Rinaldini – chose DESITA to export their respective concepts to the Middle East and open their first-ever franchises there.
Annual franchising and food shows such as Gulfood held in Dubai highlight the abundance of franchising opportunities available in the Middle East markets. By hosting the Gelato World Tour as well as winning the bid to host the prestigious World Expo 2020 that is expected to attract 20 million visitors, Dubai has definitely caught the world’s attention!
All these developments go into showcasing that the timing is right and the conditions just perfect for opening food franchises in the Middle East. Italian franchises that wish to make the most of this opportunity must act fast, before someone else takes the cake!
If you own an Italian foodservice brand, fast casual concept or a chain restaurant and wish to take your concept in the profitable Middle East market, contact DESITA today!