I must admit that I fell in love with Dubai. This was my second trip. Last time I worked at the exhibition all the time and did not see the country. This time I traveled a lot – all the facets of Dubai opened up in front of me. There is not only a modern city with skyscrapers and luxurious Ferrari. But the “old city” with small restaurants of Arabic cuisine – it is a wonderful meal!
First, when I evaluate the market of a new country – I go to a shopping center/mall. In each country in the mall, there is an island with sweets: marmalade, ice cream, pancakes and so on.
Secondly, it is important for me to find businessmen who work in this industry. In Dubai, I made friends with the head of the cafe Ella’s Creamery. Amazing woman – Patricia. She is from Mexico, travels around the world a lot. Now he’s doing business in Dubai – there’s Lego Land, next to which is her café.
Dubai is an amazing territory. Sheikh Mohammed did much to make the country become outstanding. Excellent roads, convenient metro, many trees and lawns, luxury hotels, artificial islands of Palms and the World, countless shops, and shopping centers. It attracts millions of tourists from all over the world – and they fly on the best Emirates airline to the largest Middle East airport in Dubai. Many tourists come here just to relax, so our FunFood business is developing perfectly.
In Dubai, it’s hot, so people spend their free time in shopping centers (with A/C). You can’t walk very long time on the street at 55C (131F). Therefore, all cold drinks are successful: bubble tea, milkshakes, soda.
In this case, I did not see much advertising there Pepsi or Coca-Cola. Moreover, I heard that the law was passed there – “sweet” drinks will be taxed high (because it is harmful to health). In Saudi Arabia, the tax on sweet fizzy drinks is huge!
I can say that the government wants to see more healthy drinks in stores. I bought this juice in the Carrefour supermarket. In local chains (for example, LuLu) also have healthy foods.
In every shopping center, there are many entertainments for children. In almost every country I see Haribo jelly. This is strange in the Arab countries. Halal rules do not allow the use of gelatin, but in Iran and the United Arab Emirates, I saw on sale chewing marmalade.
By the way, in the Mall of Emirates, there is a model of the plane in the children’s play center!
How I Met Patricia
At the GulFood exhibition (Feb 2017), I introduced the new Robo JetFloss. He aroused great interest, many clients came to take brochures and business cards.
At the same exhibition, I met Patricia – she worked next door to Hershey’s and asked me for some cotton candy for her dessert. Of course, I wanted to take a photo and we exchanged business cards.
After the exhibition, I wrote her a letter, found her on social networks and watched her work. It was fantastic – just see what beautiful desserts she makes!
I travel around the world a lot. The assortment of sweets is almost the same everywhere, although there are local features. The reason I like Patricia is that he digs very deep. She could just buy a franchise Cinnabon. In the end, everyone knows about Baskin Robbins. However, she began to develop her concept. Not because it’s cheaper – in fact, it’s more expensive. Just because she loves what she does.
I love such people because they move the market forward. You may be surprised, but to nowadays there is no sustainable concept for a shopping center for the sale of sweets. Many sellers of pancakes, milkshakes, marmalade earn just for rent and salary. This is a small format. Big business does not go here. A small entrepreneur has no time to “dig very deeply.” Patricia has!
Now their business can be divided into two parts: they serve customer of Lego Land and holding events for children. For example, unicorn party for girl’s birthday:
She is trying to create a new concept. After all, if you come up with and try a new format, then you can multiply it. I want to help her deal with this, so I asked my friend Marcel Ziganshin to consult us on Skype.
Marcel used to work at the “Dodo Pizza” chain, and before that, we went to school together. He has a great experience. Perhaps, he is the best consultant on franchises in the food business in Russia.
I say this because when Marcel came to Dodo pizza, they had 15 pizzerias. Three years later, when Marcel left the company, there were 180 of them! I will tell about this amazing person in the following articles.