The fifth edition of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum has concluded with several exciting industry announcements.
Over the past three days at Palazzo Versace Dubai, GRIF 2018 brought together more than 320 investors, owners, franchisors and senior hospitality professionals to facilitate investment decision-making within the international restaurant space.
GRIF Society, the international members network for the restaurant investment industry, was officially launched on stage at GRIF 2018 by Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, managing director, Middle East, Bench Events - organisers of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum.
Commenting on the launch Pettinger-Haines said: “After a very successful fifth edition of GRIF, we look forward to continuing the global restaurant investment dialogue through GRIF Society.
“We have some exciting events planned throughout 2018 in the Middle East, Africa and Europe and we look forward to hosting GRIF 2019 in Amsterdam with our partners NH Hotel Group.”
As part of the launch of GRIF Society, a series of events were announced, taking GRIF across the globe in the coming months, culminating in the sixth edition of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum, taking place in Amsterdam from February 25th-27th, 2019, at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, in partnership with NH Hotel Group.
Following the launch of GRIF Society, organisers Bench Events also announced the global restaurant and entertainment industry’s first think tank on stage in Dubai.
“Today, we’re not just proud to share the news about the launch of GRIF Society, the international members network for the global restaurant investment community, but we’re also announcing the launch of the Dubai Restaurant Industry Think Tank, which will be incubated under the GRIF Society initiative as an independent member’s forum, to represent, support, educate and promote all industry-players and play a critical and central role in shaping the agenda for the restaurant industry for the years ahead,” said Pettinger-Haines.
Earlier today, on the final day of GRIF 2018, Freedom Pizza, established in 2015 by serial entrepreneur Ian Ohan, announced its investment in a new joint venture with UAE gourmet shawarma supplier, Wild Peeta.
Freedom Pizza will be the operating partner for the venture by extending its Freedom Connect online ordering and digital platform, with super-fast proprietary delivery.
Ohan, founder of Freedom Pizza, said: “We have decided to join Mohamed and Peyman’s initiative #NeverStopBelieving to re-launch Wild Peeta.
“As fellow UAE entrepreneurs, we share many common values with Wild Peeta to let this opportunity pass and we cannot wait to see what the future holds.
“We will continue to build on our partnership and are looking to launch the first store later this year.”
Five deals for Ento Capital
Ento Capital announced five deals during GRIF for its F&B Private Equity Fund; the first DIFC-based sharia compliant socially responsible investment fund dedicated to the sector.
Café Van Houtte will be opening its first Dubai outlet later this month in La Mer, after successfully sub-franchising two outlets in the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, alongside its co-advisors CenturionCo, Ento Capital signed an exclusive mandate with Dubai-based premium gourmet and chocolate confectionary Delice, to provide US$3 million growth capital for its expansion plans in the region.
Ento Capital also signed an exclusive mandate with Louis Restaurant & Cafe to provide growth capital of over US$5 million for expansion of Louis throughout the Middle East.
In addition, Ento Capital received an exclusive mandate from Peach Retail, a Dubai based holding company owning eight brands and operating 28 outlets throughout the UAE, to carry out an in-kind acquisition to raise over US$10 million of growth equity to expand the company’s operations and brand portfolio throughout the region.
Lastly, Ento Capital, with co-advisors Ruya Advisory and Atlas X Ventures, initiated talks with Green Cola, a new generation of soft-drinks with 100 per cent natural ingredients, to invest US$3 million of growth equity, allowing the company to launch and expand its UAE operations.
Mohamed El Masri, head of corporate finance for Ento Capital, said: “In just the first Quarter of 2018, we’ve successfully secured over US$20 million worth of transactions of growth food and beverage companies with promising regional expansion plans.
“Our team is actively pursuing strategic partnerships with experienced management teams of regional companies to create a diversified portfolio with scalable business models.
“We expect favourable valuations in today’s market, allowing for above-average growth and exit value”
The intelligence unit of Insignia Worldwide, leading integrated strategy, branding, design, digital and communications agency dedicated to travel, hospitality and real estate sectors, exclusively unveiled their new Trendlines Report on food and beverage in the GCC at GRIF.
Founder of Insignia, Gaurav Sinha, said: “We have been operating in this region for the past 15 years and recognised the need for unbiased and actionable insights that provide brands the essential intelligence they require to continually innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
“In a culturally complex region that is set for continued growth, the report offers critical insights into the future food and beverage market, interviews with the industry’s leading operators, industry specific, insightful financials data and case studies that highlight prominent global food and beverage trends.”
On the back of the announcement earlier this week that Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is opening in Dubai, Ashley Palmer-Watts, chef director of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, spoke at GRIF about turning a big restaurant name into a global business.
He said: “I have had a fantastic experience at GRIF and really enjoyed having the opportunity to connect with such a diverse range of experts from within the region’s restaurant industry, especially as it comes as we announce plans to bring Dinner by Heston Blumenthal to the region for the first time.
“This is a really exciting step for us in an incredible location and Heston and I are looking forward to creating something quite special for our guests to enjoy.”
Global Restaurant Investment Forum
Launched in 2014, GRIF is an annual event for the restaurant and hospitality community.
It is a forum that brings together industry leaders and professionals from the hospitality industry, food and beverage brands, investors, hoteliers, owners, lenders, franchisors, franchisees, and other key industry professionals from across the Middle East region.
GRIF’s features include conferences, roundtable and panel discussions, culinary tours, receptions and other knowledge-sharing platforms together with several senior-level networking opportunities spread over three days.
The event is geared towards helping attendees gain valuable insights from industry leaders, build contacts, share best practices with the industry and gain confidence in the market.
Find out more on the official website.