German Doner Kebab (GDK) – owned by the Glasgow-based Sarwar family – has announced it is to move into the Saudi Arabian market after signing up The Ajlan Company as its master franchisee for the kingdom.
The Scottish chain is set to open the doors of its first site in Riyadh by August, with plans to launch 100 franchise outlets in the country over the next ten years.
Its expansion into Saudi Arabia builds on the fast food firm’s presence in the Middle East, where it already has 19 outlets across United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.GDK, which is part of the Hero Brands fast-food portfolio, also has more than 30 UK stores and further sites in Sweden.
Ajlan is reportedly “one of the richest groups in Saudi Arabia”, with interests in the retail, manufacturing, real estate, tourism and transport industries. These include master franchise stores for high end brands such as Hugo Boss and Cerruti 1881.
Imran Sayeed, global chief executive for GDK, said: “We are very excited to be announcing our ambitions for Saudi Arabia as our growth plans for the Middle East gather further momentum. Our idea of bringing a gourmet kebab that is healthy and nutritionally balanced has truly resonated with consumers in the region, disrupting and opening-up a new area of the fast-food market place.
“The Ajlan Company shares our vision and offers great synergies for GDK in Saudi Arabia, bringing an experienced infrastructure and a commitment to rapid growth.
“We are very much looking forward to our first opening in the middle part of this year and working with them to relentlessly expand the GDK footprint over the next decade.”
GDK was created in Germany in 1989 and launched in the UK in 2016 by United Brands, the Glasgow-based cash and carry group owned by the Sarwar family.
A year later the company bought the worldwide rights to the brand and announced ambitious plans for international expansion.
A spokesperson for Ajlan added: “We very much welcome the growth of GDK and we are excited to bring this brand into Saudi Arabia and beyond. We have ambitious growth plans for the restaurant chain and are glad to be working with the Hero Brands team to achieve this.”