Dave’s Hot Chicken Signs Deal to Enter the Middle East
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Dave’s Hot Chicken Signs Deal to Enter the Middle East

February 16, 2022 // Franchising.com // DUBAI - Coming off a strong 2021 that saw the opening of its first international locations, Dave’s Hot Chicken announced today a new signed deal that will expand its presence outside of North America. The Los Angeles-based street food sensation turned breakthrough fast-casual brand has inked a franchise agreement with Walid Hajj for 31 locations in the Arabian Gulf region, including in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

“This is a massive moment in the history of Dave’s Hot Chicken,” said Bill Phelps, CEO of Dave’s Hot Chicken. “We’ll now be bringing our craveable menu to markets in the Middle East. With an established franchise veteran like Walid Hajj leading the way, I’m confident about the success of the brand in this new region.”

All 31 stores are anticipated to open within the next eight years. This agreement is the next round of international locations for Dave’s Hot Chicken, following a signed deal in 2020 for 30 stores throughout Canada.

Having been involved in restaurant and franchise operations nearly his entire career, Hajj has earned a reputation of finding and creating innovative food and beverage concepts that disrupt the industry. In 2001 he founded Cravia, a parent company of well-known brands such as Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Five Guys Burgers and Carvel Ice Cream. After building Cravia to over 100 successful locations in four different countries, Cravia sold to a private equity firm in 2016 before Hajj founded Lavoya with Fahad Alhokair in 2020. Now, in addition to Dave’s Hot Chicken, their portfolio includes Joe & The Juice, an international juice bar franchise, and Lebanese street food brand, Barbar.

“Bringing on an operator with credentials like Walid is a huge milestone in our franchise development efforts. The experience he brings in multi-unit ownership is impeccable and exactly who we want to help make our entrance into a new continent,” said Shannon Swenson, VP of Franchise Development at Dave’s Hot Chicken.

Founded by classically-trained chef Dave Kopushyan and three friends in early 2017, Dave’s Hot Chicken initially opened as a parking lot pop-up, with lines quickly wrapping around the block.

Specializing in hot chicken tenders and sliders, with spice levels ranging from “No Spice” to “Reaper,” each restaurant also serves sides of house-made Kale Slaw, creamy Mac & Cheese and crispy Fries or Cheese Fries.

SOURCE Dave’s Hot Chicken

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