Nabi Naseeb had always loved Döners and Gyros during his international trips. It was during one of his many trips when he realized that he loved the food so much that he wanted to bring them to Dubai. After thorough research, he opened the QSR chain in 2014 with the first outlet in Dubai. By bringing these wonderful concepts together which are inspired from Chicago and Berlin, the group has marked its international presence in many countries and is now set to open its outlets in India soon. Excerpts from the interview:
How did it all begin? What made you enter into the food business?
We started the food business because of our love for food. It is a kind of passion as well as love for our family. I travelled a lot between Dubai and Toronto. Instead of taking the direct flight, I always used to go via Frankfurt with a 4-5 hours layover just so I can go from the airport to downtown, have a döner, come back and then head to Toronto on the next flight. It’s just my love for döner which made me do so. The same thing happens when I had to travel to New York. I used to travel to Chicago first via transit and then to New York. This is how much we love food in our family.
How do you differentiate between shawarma and döner as the product is somewhat similar?
Döner and shawarma are completely different products. The meat recipe, taste and texture of döner meat is different from shawarma meat. Even the quality of meat and the saucesare different. Döner is more of a Mediterranean European cuisine.
How are you trying to keep your ingredients fresh?
Absolutely everything is fresh here. Our meat comes from Germany where as the sauces, veggies and breads are locally sourced to ensure freshness in every bite.
Why Dubai as your first location?
We started from Dubai because it was always the first name that struck our minds. Many new concepts are being introduced here not only because of the vibrant tourism but also because of the undying curiosity of the people that call this city home. In addition, Dubai has a diverse audience and has become an important part of the globe in recent time. We also have our locations in Saudi Arabia and London and are expanding to Oman, Los Angeles and Toronto very soon.
What was the whole idea of entering the Indian market?
We are very excited about the Indian market. We have seen the potential. With today’s generation, who is also engaged in new ideas and products. We believe that the idea of bringing our concept here to India will eventually favor us. With the right team and partners, we will be opening our outlets here very soon in the upcoming months. We have the right tools, team and product for this market, which will be in our favor to help serve the people of India with something different.
What will be the number of outlets and cities you are thinking to expand to?
We are looking forward towards opening 150-200 locations within India in the next five years. The group has partnered with FranGlobal as a master franchise partner which will be bringing in the bandwidth and the infrastructure. The group is planning to expand via Development agents across fifteen to eighteen clusters in India who would be working in those regions into the tune of every cluster giving 15-20 outlets to each DA.
Will you be looking at someone who is already into the food business?
Ideally yes, because they have a team that are already experienced. Having such a team will help us in establishing and knowing the details about the native market where we are heading. However, when it’s about the development element, we are open to people who are curious and ready to invest in F&B business if they come with a right amount of financial, operational and marketing capacity. It will be a mix of people willing to invest in food business.
What would be your strategy to compete with the QSR market already there in India?
I don’t think that there is any brand that can compete with us. There is no competition because you don’t have anything close to döner and we are going to serve a completely different product to this country. So, I don’t think that there is any kind of challenge for us right now in the Indian market. More than challenges, I feel that there is a lot of gap in serving the fresh quality of food products, good costing, hygiene and great taste. We want a brand which is affordable having great product which is freshly made.
Who will be your target audience?
Young generations between the age of 18-35 are the target audience for us. We also want to target people who want to eat better quality of food.
Where will you get the raw materials from? Will you be customizing your product?
India is a local produce driven market. We would have to source ingredients from there as much as possible. I think India has that capability to source all of our needs.
Also, we will be customizing our products to the locals. The sauces and product will be customized in such a manner that is loved and respected by Indian culture.
What will be your global strategy that you will use for Indian market?
With India being the largest market for the brand, the vision we have for establishing our venture will be one of the biggest QSR chains India will have in the coming years, at least in the region. Our teams are going to get trained under their guidance and management. The overall idea is that the brand should look and feel similar to the Dubai outlet. The product might taste a bit different but the brand and the core experience is the same, which should remain uniform across all the branches.
Where can we see your first outlet getting launched?
We are planning to open the first outlet within the next 4-5 months, ideally in a shopping mall. We will be launching our brand all over India. We ideally want our establishment in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, but Delhi and Mumbai will be our first preference.