January 24, 2012 // Franchising.com // CULVER CITY, CALIF. – The Counter® Custom Built Burgers, the popular build-your-own-burger restaurant that offers over 300,000 possible combinations, and Americana Group, the Middle East’s leading restaurant, food product distributor and retail company, announced today a development agreement to open and operate 33 new locations in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and England. The development agreement covers the next eight years and will make The Counter the leading premium burger restaurant in the region.
“Now is an exciting time to enter the Middle East marketplace with its double-digit economic growth over the past several years and its highly-educated younger population,” said Craig Albert, Co-CEO of The Counter. “The Americana Group is the premiere restaurant group in the Middle East and North Africa region, and we are honored by their enthusiasm for our brand. We look forward to introducing The Counter culture to these markets and are confident the Americana Group will translate our guest experience at the highest level.”
Mr. Marzouk Al-Kharafi, Chairman & Managing Director of the Americana Group discovered The Counter during his visits to Los Angeles and was instantly drawn to its custom built burgers, wide variety of choices, high quality of ingredients and hip, cool atmosphere. “The Counter experience is unique unto itself. Nor is there any premium burger restaurant in the Middle East that has the scale and variety that The Counter delivers,” Mr. Marzouk said. “This is a huge opportunity to bring The Counter’s one-of-a-kind experience to diners in the Middle East and United Kingdom where we are craving exceptional American-style burgers.”
The first locations are slated to open late 2012 in London, Dubai and Kuwait. Lamb burgers and Hamour, a local fish found in the Arabian Gulf area, will be new additions to the menu to highlight regional flavors, similar to the way the U.S.-based The Counter locations tailor some burger options for local markets.
There are currently 32 U.S. locations of The Counter, two international locations in Dublin, Ireland and additional restaurants opening soon in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the Etoile Center and in Saar, Bahrain at The Avenues.
Founded in 2003 by Jeff Weinstein, Culver City, Calif.-based The Counter® is a modern take on the classic burger joint. The Counter offers a fresh, unconventional approach to creating the ultimate burger – with over 300,000 possible “Build Your Own Burger” combinations choosing from four proteins, 12 cheeses, 33 toppings, 21 unique sauces and four types of buns. The Counter offers a full-service, fast-casual dining experience in an inviting space with industrial décor and upbeat music.
As one of the first in the premium burger category, The Counter quickly gained national acclaim and became a cult favorite among burger lovers. The Counter was named “Best Burger” in the 2011 Los Angeles Times “Readers Choice Awards.” TIME called The Counter one of the “great hamburger chains in the U.S.” in January 2011. Last year, Restaurant Business named The Counter as one of the fastest growing regional chain restaurants and soon to be major national player. GQ magazine columnist Alan Richman included The Counter’s “Build Your Own Burger” on his list of the best burgers in America in July 2005. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” featured The Counter’s inclusion on Richman’s list in a February 2006 show highlighting the “20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die.” The Counter has also been featured in several other major publications including Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine magazines.
For more information about The Counter, please visit www.TheCounterBurger.com
Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCounter
Twitter at www.twitter.com/CounterBurger
Americana is the Middle East's most successful group of companies operating consumer foods, restaurants, and food-related products. This amazing success story started out in Kuwait in 1964 with the establishment of a small trading company, which then opened its first restaurant (Wimpy) in 1970. This was the region's first experience with international chain restaurants and was the beginning of Americana's rapid expansion in this field. This was followed with the establishment of the first meat processing plant in 1972 to cater for the restaurants' growing demand. With time, more Americana restaurants, food companies, factories, and brands were established and a high growth rate was always maintained. Today, the group operates more than 1,000 restaurants with more than 35,000 employees across 17 countries between the Atlantic Ocean and Caspian Sea. The Americana Group operates international franchises like Hardee’s, TGIF’s, Krispy Kreme, KFC and Pizza Hut. The Americana Group’s portfolio also includes a wide range of consumer foods, manufactured in 18 factories, in 5 different countries, and marketed across the region with well-known names like Americana Meat, Americana Cake, Farm Frites, California Garden, Heinz, Koki, Green Land and much more. For more information about Kuwait Food Company, please visit www.Americana-Group.net
Christina Wong / Lindsey Henn
Murphy O’Brien, Inc