SHAKEY’S PIZZA Asia Ventures, Inc. (SPAVI) is stamping its presence in the Middle East with the opening of its first store in Dubai, banking on expected demand from the large population of Filipinos living in the area.
Franchised by Dubai-based firm Aljeel Capital, SPAVI’s newest store is located across Burjuman Mall and near Exit 4 of Burjuman Metro Station, described as one of the busiest stations in the city.
“We are excited to have more stores in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), with our flagship Dubai restaurant finally open and with the overwhelming turnout we had during opening night,” SPAVI quoted Aljeel Capital Chief Executive Officer Firas Hurieh as saying in a statement.
Mr. Hurieh noted that the store recorded the highest total net sales during opening day as well as the largest number of pre-sold loyalty programs cards called Supercards.
“(T)he new store is strategically located and very accessible, thus attracting good traffic and high brand visibility. It features the familiar store environment of a Shakey’s pizza parlor in the Philippines and offers the many iconic products which many Filipinos have grown to love,” the company said.
All the choices on the Dubai store’s menu is halal-certified, as per the city’s Islamic culture. SPAVI however noted that it has kept the trademark experience of the Shakey’s brand, with marinade, breading, dough blends, and the spice mix for pizzas, chicken, and spaghetti all being imported from the Philippines.
The Dubai store is the first of 10 Aljeel Capital has committed to open within five years, and the second international store for SPAVI after its first store opening in Kuwait.
“Dubai, UAE, and the rest of the Middle East are great markets for us. Aside from the strong and welcoming Filipino communities which really love the Shakey’s brand and are excited about experiencing it away from home, PIZZA is also a Western concept with Western menu — thus giving us tremendous growth opportunities within the mainstream markets there,” SPAVI President and Chief Executive Officer Vicente L. Gregorio said in a statement.
SPAVI holds the perpetual rights to the Shakey’s brand for the Middle East, Asia (excluding Japan and Malaysia), China, Australia, and Oceania. The company has recently signed two area development agreements, bringing its total international pipeline to at least 20 outlets over the next few years.
Locally, SPAVI ended the first quarter of the year with a total of 212 stores after four store openings for the period. The company plans to open 16 new stores this year, for a total of 228 stores for 2018.
The listed full-service restaurant operator generated a net income of P184 million in the first quarter of 2018, 6.3% higher year-on-year, after system-wide sales rose 10% to P2.2 billion for the period.
Shares in SPAVI gained four centavos or 0.3% to close at P13.28 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia