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Now they’re drinking our organic espresso in Kuwait. Kiwi coffee company Franchise Development Ltd (FDL) has opened its first Esquires Coffee House in the Gulf state bringing the brand’s Middle East presence to 12 stores.
The Kuwait Esquires is located in the newest mall in Al Jahra City in a nation well known for its love of coffee. 
FDL regional director of operations Niza Al Ali says the mall is on the city fringe can get very busy.
“It’s in a peaceful area where most shoppers are local people and foot traffic is very steady during the week but can get very busy at weekends and on pay day.”
FDL director Stuart Deeks says it’s a coals-to-Newcastle scenario opening a coffee shop in Kuwait.
“The country is well known for its love of coffee and all the big chains are there. Kuwait was the first Gulf Cooperation Council country to introduce coffee shops,” Mr Deeks says. 
“Kuwaitis are well educated and well travelledso they are very familiar with the coffee culture. But we have a great point of difference because Esquires is the only coffee house in Kuwait that sells only 100 per cent organic coffee.”
Mr Deeks says the local franchisee is well experienced in the coffee trade also owning a master franchise in Syria.  The plan is to have five outlets in the most important malls in Kuwait before the end of March next year. 
“In the Middle East retail is a popular way for people to spend their leisure time – in some countries there is little other entertainment so it lends whole new meaning to retail therapy.
“And the New Zealand connection certainly goes down well up there.”
The Kuwaiti store is free standing in the mall providing excellent visibility, Mr Deeks says. It covers around 80 sq. m. and seats 52.
FDL earns a royalty and supplies franchisees with New Zealand coffee and related products. Esquires has Middle East coffee houses in Bahrain, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
NZAX-listed Cooks Food Group announced last month it had reached agreement to acquire FDLsubject to shareholder approval. FDL has the global master franchise for the Esquires brand and has 58 stores in China, the Middle East, the UK and Ireland.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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