Joining a growing number of American restaurant brands opening in the Middle East, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza is expected to announce this week its first overseas unit will open in Dubai before the end of the year.
The franchise agreement with MAM Foodco LLC includes a plan to open 100 Papa Murphy’s throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, which represents the union of Arab states throughout the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The Papa Murphy’s currently has about 1,287 locations in 37 states across the U.S. and another 15 in Canada.
Jim Perkins, Papa Murphy’s vice president of international development, said two locations are expected to open in Dubai in the next four months. The company is working with MAM to identify where else in the region the bake-at-home brand would fit the demographics and culture.
Mohamed Aaly Maghrabi, founder of MAM, said in a statement, “We have no doubt that Papa Murphy’s North American success will carry across the globe. It is certain to become a favorite of the Middle Eastern foodies, who will appreciate the great quality pizza, fresh ingredients and the uniqueness of the take ‘n’ bake experience that has made Papa Murphy’s the number one choice for U.S. consumers.”
Perkins said, for now, international growth will remain focused on Dubai and Canada, where three more stores are scheduled to open in coming weeks.
“As for growth outside of these two areas, we will take the brand where it makes sense, but only where we establish a solid, trusted and mutually beneficial partnership,” Perkins said.
The Middle East has become a hotbed of activity for U.S.-based restaurant brands. Among those that have recently announced plans to open in the region include Tea Lounge, Smashburger, Mooyah Burgers and Fries, Fatburger, The Cheesecake Factory, Nestle Toll House Cafe and Naked Pizza.
Domestic growth for the all-franchised Papa Murphy’s chain will also continue. Perkins said there are opportunities for growth in several markets throughout the Southeast, in particular, such as Charleston, S.C., Raleigh, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla.
Vancouver, Wash.-based Papa Murphy’s was acquired by New York-based private equity firm Lee Equity Partners in 2010.