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Baskin-Robbins opens 500th Saudi store in Dammam

From left, Mohammed Yahya Kazi, member of the executive committee of the board of directors of GICC; Shabeer Shah, general manager of GICC; Bill Mitchell, president of Dunkin’ Brands International; John Varghese, vice president of Dunkin’ Brands International; and Osama Saleh Yadkar, deputy general manager of JTCL.
Baskin-Robbins recently opened its 500th Saudi store in Dammam.
To mark the milestone, Galadari Ice Cream Company (GICC), master franchisee for Baskin-Robbins in the Middle East, and its subsidiary Jumeirah Trading Company Ltd. (JTCL), along with Dunkin’ Brands International, partner company of Dunkin’ Donuts, called a press conference on Nov. 1 at the Sheraton Dammam Hotel & Convention Centre.
The event was attended by a number of senior representatives from the companies, including Bill Mitchell, president of Dunkin’ Brands International; Mohammed Yahya Kazi, member of the executive committee of the board of directors of GICC; John Varghese, vice president of Dunkin’ Brands International, Shabeer Shah, general manager of GICC; and Osama Saleh Yadkar, deputy general manager of JTCL.
Dunkin’ Brands International President Mitchell told Arab News: “The opening of our 500th store is a major event for us because our partnership with Galadari has been in place for 35 years and they have been a wonderful partner. They have helped us test new flavors and images ... we have built a very close relationship over the years.”
Baskin-Robbins is the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shop restaurants. Based in Canton, Massachusetts, it was founded in 1945 by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in Glendale, California.
The company is known for its “31 flavors” slogan, with the idea that a customer could have a different flavor every day of any month. The slogan came from the Carson-Roberts advertising agency (which later merged into Ogilvy & Mather) in 1953.
Mitchell added: “Our founders who created the concept in 1945 started the slogan and we believe in it today, it makes people happy.”
Kazi of GICC said: “This ice cream industry in the Kingdom has gone from strength to strength, achieving an annual growth rate of six percent. We are growing along with the industry at a comparable rate.”
The company has focused on increasing its customer reach by opening outlets in new geographic regions and introduced the concept of neighborhood stores across Saudi Arabia, offering convenient home delivery options and entering into tie-ups with reputed local aggregators.
Baskin-Robbins aims to focus on delivering flavors that are close to the Saudi culture, such as dates. “We know that the Saudis love flavors such as caramel, cream, vanilla and dates. So we are working on new flavors that incorporate these elements,” Mitchell added.
As part of its commitment to local economic development, JRCL also adopted an ambitious Saudization policy to recruit and develop local talent, from frontline staff to senior executive management.
Over 37 percent of Baskin Robbins’ staff are Saudis. It has also been an active partner of the Disabled Children’s Association since 2012.
GICC currently operates more than 800 stores across the GCC. It is also a joint venture partner with Dunkin’ Brands for the Baskin-Robbins business in Australia where there are currently more than eight locations. Baskin-Robbins currently has more than 7,900 restaurants in 52 countries around the globe.
The company has introduced more than 1,000 flavors since 1945.

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