FILIPINO fast food player Binalot continues to expand its market in the Middle East and foresees similar growth in its foreign franchise business in the region.
In a statement on Thursday, it said company officials visited Dubai to inspect two new sites in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One outlet will be in Abu Dhabi and the other one will be in Sharjah. Both outlets are set to open in the second quarter of 2017 and are situated where there are many Filipino communities.
Binalot is inside the Little Manila Food Court, a cluster of Pinoy restaurants conceptualized by the Al Ahli Group, the territorial franchisee of Binalot in Dubai. It is a themed restaurant, which features top Filipino fast food brands under one roof.
Binalot President Rommel Juan said that Filipinos account for about 30 percent of the work force in Dubai, totaling to some 500,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai alone and up to one million in the whole of the UAE.
“Official statistics from the Philippine embassy indicate that there could be more because of some undocumented OFWs in the UAE. That in itself is a very potent market base with spending power. It is no wonder then that Binalot has experienced tremendous success with Little Manila for its first outlet in Deira,” Juan said.
This very first Binalot outlet in Little Manila is situated in a 1,000 square-meter area that boasts of many Filipino products and brands. After barely two years of operations, it has grown to be the favorite gathering place of Filipinos in the area, especially on weekends.
A study commissioned by the Al Ahli Group reveals that eight out of 10 OFWs, or 84 percent, in the UAE are frequent diners and eat out about four times a week, proof of their rising purchasing power. Only 5 percent eat out twice a month while the remaining 11 percent dine out once a month, Juan said.