Known for serving excellent South East Asian cuisine, ‘the noodle house’, a casual dining restaurant concept was recently awarded Superbrand status for 2012. Phil Broad, MD, Jumeirah International LLC share brand’s worldwide expansion.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us on the inception and growth of ‘the noodle house’ Restaurants.
Phil Broad (PB): The first noodle house opened in the Boulevard, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, on 31st, May 2002 followed the second outlet at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah and four additional restaurants across the city. In the ten years since we opened the first restaurant, we have expanded into Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Cyprus. Last year, we opened our first restaurant in Lahore, Pakistan, which received a great response with celebrity endorsements on both the broadcast and social media. In October 2011, we also announced the signing of a franchise agreement that will see the brand expanding into Moscow, Russia, within the year.
NB: Kindly describe the brand and its USP?
PB: Awarded Superbrand status for 2012, the noodle house is a casual dining restaurant concept serving South East Asian cuisine in an informal yet stylish setting. The model is inspired by the crowded streets of cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Jakarta where street vendors sell aromatic, healthy, delicious, and vibrantly fresh selections of food. The communal tables and hustle and bustle created by the open kitchen at the noodle house adds a buzz that is typical to the popular street stalls in South East Asian countries.
NB: What is the model adopted by the brand for expansion in the region? How did the company decide on the selected model?
PB: We own, manage and franchise the business across the region. We selected this model due to the significant interest in the brand from numerous potential partners around the region. Our strategy has worked and driven increased growth opportunities.
NB: How many locations do you have at present? How many are owned and sub-franchised?
PB: Currently, there are 19 noodle house restaurants operating around the world, four of which are owned and operated by Jumeirah Restaurants LLC and 15 under franchise partners. Of the 15 franchised outlets, three are located in India and trade under the name, the tasty tangles.
NB: What are your further expansion plans in Middle East in coming years?
PB: We are continually looking for new and exciting opportunities throughout the region for both ourselves and our partners. We look forward to opening the first noodle house restaurant in Bahrain with our partner this year. We are in the advanced stages of negotiations with two more partners that will see the brand extending its footprint across the globe. This will contribute towards our target of having 150 development agreements by the end of 2012.
NB: What are the challenges that you anticipate to grow the brand further in the Middle East market? How would you handle competition?
PB: The key challenge to grow the brand further in the Middle East is to find strong partners to work with. We look for partners who have food and beverage experience, can be brand ambassadors for the noodle house and are committed to growing the brand. We are aware of our competition’s activity at all times. However, I do believe there is room in the market for all of us. We look forward to healthy competition as it enriches the dining experience, giving diners more options and encouraging us to deliver the best in food quality and service.
NB: Brief us on the brand’s presence in international markets other than the Middle East?
PB: We have one restaurant in Limassol, Cyprus, three in India and one which recently opened in Lahore, Pakistan. In October 2011, we also announced the signing of a franchise agreement that will see the brand expanding into Moscow, Russia, within the year.
NB: What will be your advice for the businesses seeking franchise arrangements in the region?
PB: From the noodle house perspective, we would like franchise partners to understand that the most important thing is the relationship you share with your potential franchisor. We work very hard to build those relationships, but what makes it easier is the fact that we have an operating system that is tried and tested around the world. By this, our partners gain our extensive experience and maximum support. If businesses are looking at other franchise models, I would suggest they ensure that the operating system they are considering has been tried and tested and proven to work.