Austin Asian-centric casual restaurant ready for international expansion

Jul 17, 2014
Austin Business Journal

Mama Fu's Asian House, an Austin-based Asian fast-casual restaurant, is set for its first international expansion to the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. Mama Fu's will open its first location in the UAE in Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2015 followed by a location in Dubai

The process began nearly six months ago when Mama Fu's franchise development partner in the UAE, Gulf General Investment Company Gourmet LLC – a subsidiary of GGICO – was planning to expand its business into the restaurant industry

A public company listed on the Dubai Financial Market, GGICO has diversified activities in the retail, real estate, insurance, manufacturing, oil and hospitality industries

"This international expansion involves understanding the nuances of how the brand will operate in another country," Murphy said. "We knew we could execute this and it is the right opportunity at the right time."

Mama Fu's plans to open 10 locations in the Middle East in the next five to eight years and also hopes to expand to other international locations such as the U.K., Europe and India. The company finalized the franchise in Abu Dhabi a month ago by leasing restaurant space and is now working on its Dubai expansion

Murphy said Mama Fu's will continue to control the brand and not the franchises in the UAE by allowing GGICO Gourmet manage the branding, marketing and hiring. He said most of the current menu items will be available to customers in the UAE, except for items with pork

With 250 to 300 employees across its corporate and franchised locations nationwide, Mama Fu's recently opened its 19th U.S. location in Rochester, Minnesota

"They wanted to open an Asian restaurant chain across the UAE," said Randy Murphy, president and CEO at Mama Fu's Franchise Group LLC. "We were selected from Asian restaurants across the country."

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