Starting with Dubai and in a “strategic partnership” with Kitch
The iconic Lebanese restaurant Barbar has announced its partnership with Kitch, the region’s first hybrid, delivery-focused, cloud kitchen and premium store-front operator, to expand its operations to key cities in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Based on its successful experience and the reputation that it has maintained in Lebanon for 42 years, Barbar will soon open its first restaurant in Dubai and in other key cities in the region.
Barbar said in a statement that it has signed a franchise agreement with Kitch that allows it to open its first restaurant in the GCC in Dubai to be followed by further expansion in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
According to the statement, the new 600 square meters Barbar restaurant, located in Hessa street in Dubai, will offer both dine-in and delivery services. Eight restaurants and cloud kitchens will be opened in the UAE, and 20 of them will be opened in Saudi Arabia, four of which will start operating in the second semester of this year. Barbar will also open two restaurants in Qatar before the beginning of the football World Cup hosted by Doha in 2022.
Mohammad Ghaziri, launched Barbar in 1979 as a small ‘Manouche’ bakery in front of the famous Piccadilly theatre in the heart of Beirut. Within the first few years of opening, the restaurant gained fame for its delicious manouchés and was visited by singers, artists, and celebrities who performed at the theatre.
As a family business, Barbar was built from the ground up over the years, introducing new products such as shawarma, falafel, fatayer, grills, burgers, ice creams and fruit cocktails to its extensive menu. Barbar has never closed its establishments and continues to remain open 24/7, even during the pandemic and periods of strife. Today, more than a comfort food outlet, Barbar is one of the most-acclaimed restaurants in Lebanon and regarded as a tourist attraction.
Mohammad Al Ghaziri, Founder of Barbar, stated that Barbar plans to expand its operations globally “based on its fame in Lebanon”. He said: “The Lebanese have grown attached to us over 40 years and we are sure that they will be proud to hear that Barbar will expand in other countries and introduce people to Lebanese food in the best way”.
“We are thrilled to partner with Kitch as we focus on expanding our business to international markets. With this strategic partnership, we will be able to accelerate our expansion plans and bolster our presence in key markets in a relatively short span of time,” he added. “The technology-led, business model of Kitch is going to be the future of both global and regional cloud-kitchen industry. We are looking forward to offering our wide selection of Lebanese flavours to the diverse population of the UAE and Saudi Arabia through Kitch’s brick-and-mortar facilities and virtual kitchens.”
Walid Hajj, Co-founder and CEO of Kitch, said: “We are honoured to represent Barbar and look forward to bringing the 40-year-old signature recipes and authentic flavours of Lebanon to key cities in the GCC through our hybrid model. As part of our franchise agreement, we will be serving the world-class offerings and the delectable menu of Barbar through our premium store-front facilities and cloud-kitchens in the region.” He added that “The alliance underlines our commitment to further build the F&B sector and deliver a portfolio of exciting brands and innovative culinary offerings. We are confident that our omni-channel cloud kitchen model will further strengthen Barbar’s brand positioning and following in the GCC.”
Kitch is the brainchild of Walid Hajj and Fahad Al Hokair’s mission to be at the forefront of food innovation and take the kitchen in the cloud concept to the next level through a more flexible, hybrid cloud approach. The company entered the F&B sector earlier this year with privately raised capital of US$15 million. It aims to achieve operational excellence and set industry benchmarks by offering an integrated, next-generation model that focuses on quality over quantity.
Kitch plans to open four delivery kitchens in Riyadh by end of March and additional 15 kitchens across the GCC by the end of the year. Each delivery kitchen is spread over an area of 450sqm to 500sqm and is fully equipped to serve around 10 food concepts. Kitch is also in discussion with several regional and international food-concept owners and will be unveiling more brand partnerships in the coming months.