We speak to Zooba's CEO and Founder Christopher Khalifa about the plans for breaking baladi bread with the New Yorkers.
Egypt’s homegrown brand, Zooba, has just announced its plans to expand to New York City, USA, with an investment of $4 million. The first store will be located in Manhattan, close to Nolita neighborhood by next summer before they scale out the Zooba brand across the Big Apple.
Like “bessara on baladi bread,” Zooba has a long-term plan to spread across the States in the coming months. “It’s going to be a busy year for us,” Zooba’s CEO and Founder Christopher Khalifa tells Startup Scene.
Back in June 2018, Zooba partnered with SADF Trading and Development, a company operating and scaling an F&B franchise to open 20 Zooba stores in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on a span of seven years. “Our Saudi and Bahrain expansion is in partnership with a local franchisee whilst the US we are doing on a wholly owned basis,” Khalifa explains. “They are two completely different markets and with the franchisees support we are confident in our ability to execute both.” Riyadh is expected to have its first Zooba restaurant before the summer.
“Being ‘local’ is one of our brand pillars and to achieve that in locations outside of Egypt we are assessing every consumer touchpoint and making sure that we are creating an experience that is both Egyptian and also belonging to the respective neighborhoods,” Khalifa promises.
“To that end, each Zooba branch will have its own unique identity as is already the case with our existing Cairo locations.” Zooba has six running restaurants in Greater Cairo; Zamalek, New Cairo, Korba, Maadi, Nasr City, and most recently Sheikh Zayed.
With this move, Khalifa and key senior team members will be relocating to New York City to manage the new branch; leaving the local Zooba in the hands of the former Zooba Marketing Manager Ahmed Fahmy.
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