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Home    Marco Pierre White to expand internationally with Dubai’s Rmal Hospitality     Details
Marco Pierre White to expand internationally with Dubai’s Rmal Hospitality

British chef Marco Pierre White and Dubai-based Rmal Hospitality have entered into a partnership to develop White’s brands around the world, the group announced on Thursday, with the first restaurant under the deal being the Marco Pierre White Grill at the upcoming Conrad Hotel in Dubai, due to open in August 2013.


Rmal Hospitality CEO Anthony P Liddiard announced the group had purchased the portfolio of White’s brands, which include Frankie’s and Wheeler’s restaurants, and the rights to develop them in all territories apart from the UK and Ireland. Rmal Hospitality, owned by the Al Fahim Group, also operates Wagamama and Trader Vic’s restaurants in the UAE, which are not associated with White.

White already has two restaurants in Dubai (Frankie’s and Wheeler’s) and two in Abu Dhabi (Frankie’s and the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse at the Fairmont) operated in association with Rmal, plus one more, Titanic, at the Melia Hotel in Bur Dubai, which is not included in the partnership.

“After a relationship of seven years in the UAE, Marco approached us to become his international partner to develop and expand the Marco Pierre White brand and of course the brands that Marco has under his name, and also have the opportunity to extend on creating brands with Marco that we feel will fit the markets,” said Liddiard, without disclosing the financial terms of the deal.

“Both parties were happy with the deal — it’s a win-win,” Liddiard said, adding that the partnership is not a lease and there is no expiry date on the rights. “We are the custodians,” he said before describing White as “a perfectionist and very particular in who he is going to allow to take his brand forward.”

White said Rmal’s Liddiard and COO Walter Hall were his friends. “They understand this market better than I do. For me to want to own a restaurant 100 per cent outside of the UK – I can’t be there 365 days a year. Therefore, if you wish to expand, then you have to chose partners who you trust. It’s all about belief that those people are going to protect your brand, because above the name of Wheeler’s is my name.”

White is notorious in his home country for his short temper, and has appeared on the TV series Hell’s Kitchen, in which he applies his tough-love approach to wannabe chefs. That style was on display during the press conference at Wheeler’s in DIFC, when he berated a reporter (not this one) for asking him if reports that he was pulling out of his association with Titanic at the Melia were true. “No. Why would you ask that? There are right questions and wrong questions,” White said during a terse exchange with the reporter.

Liddiard added that new openings may include mall-based outlets along the lines of a “Marco’s Cafe”.

“We didn’t buy the rights to go into this to put flags on maps,” said Liddiard when asked about the future expansion plans. “That’s an extremely dangerous exercise. We’re being highly selective on who we are going to work with. Here in Dubai, we have been selected because of the quality of the brands, because they saw what we did with the Fairmont Abu Dhabi, to open the first Marco Pierre White Grill restaurant in the new Conrad.”


Source: Gulf News

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