Nompumelelo Magwaza

FAMOUS Brands’s premium-end boutique café brand, tashas, had opened a restaurant in Dubai, the group said yesterday. This was in line with the group’s plan to grow globally.

Founded in 2005 by Natasha Sideris, tashas has opened 11 restaurants around the country. Famous Brands acquired a 51 percent controlling stake in tashas in 2008 and retained the key management team led by Sideris and her brother, Savva.

The Dubai restaurant is a milestone in tashas’s history.

“We have always aspired to spread our wings into the international arena, and the last nine years have served as great preparatory work for this step,” Sideris said.

The Dubai restaurant had taken two years to reach fruition as the company was looking for a site with a balance of residential and business use.

“So a huge amount of research was conducted to select the right area and the right mall,” Sideris said.

The site in The Galleria Mall was chosen because it was located between the suburbs and the city in an area that was established and still developing, which Sideris said offered a good combination of local Emiratis and expatriates.

The group faced challenges such as learning the local laws, training of staff, sourcing produce and managing the logistics of transporting the eatery’s interior from South Africa.

“Domestically, this brand consistently proves that those consumers who have money to spend continue to do so. Tashas delivered 20 percent like-on-like growth for the period,” Famous Brands chief executive Kevin Hedderwick said.

“We anticipate a similarly positive response from the affluent consumers that the Dubai restaurant would serve.”

The restaurant will be co-owned and managed by Dubai-born franchisee Mubarak Binfahad, who said he wanted to bring a brand to Dubai that spoke of luxury and sophistication, while being relaxed.

“The synergies between… Natasha, Savva and myself is fantastic and we hope to open more restaurants together in the Middle East.”

Shares in Famous Brands gained 0.48 percent to close at R99.17 on the JSE yesterday.