Florida’s BurgerFi set to expand into Saudi Arabia

Florida’s BurgerFi set to expand into Saudi Arabia
BurgerFi restaurant in Gainesville, Florida.
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Updated 13 January 2021

Florida’s BurgerFi set to expand into Saudi Arabia

Florida’s BurgerFi set to expand into Saudi Arabia
  • The first Saudi BurgerFi outlet is due to open in Burj Alfardan in Khobar City in the fourth quarter of 2021

RIYADH: US-based gourmet restaurant chain BurgerFi International is set to expand into Saudi Arabia with the signing of a new agreement with Food Supplies Co. to open six restaurants in the Kingdom.

The first Saudi BurgerFi outlet is due to open in Burj Alfardan in Khobar City in the fourth quarter of 2021, with five further outlets expected to follow shortly afterwards.

The Palm Beach brand, which was established in 2011, currently has two outlets in Kuwait.

“While our main focus is to grow from our dominant position as the market leader in Florida in the ‘Better Burger’ category and expand domestically, we anticipate we will also pursue strategic opportunities both in other parts of the US and countries beyond our borders,” Julio Ramirez, CEO of BurgerFi, said in a press statement.

“We currently operate in the Middle East and believe that we have selected the strongest partners to develop the brand in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.”

Food Supplies CEO Thamer Al-Hathal said that his company was attracted to the BurgerFi brand because of its unique approach to food production and preparation.

“They use beef that is free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics. We have such a huge demand for this type of concept in Saudi Arabia and we know that BurgerFi will fill that void,” he said.

“BurgerFi is an extremely fast-growing concept, and we are excited to get ahead of the game and be part of this revolutionary restaurant and grow it in the Middle East. We see this as a long-term partnership,” Al-Hathal added.

BurgerFi has 125 outlets around the world and plans to open 25 more in 2021. The restaurant chain became a public company in December 2020 and is now traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange.


Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’

Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’
Updated 43 min 17 sec ago

Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’

Canadian firm pulls out of Carrefour takeover after France insists ‘No’
  • Carrefour has more than 12,300 stores in more than 30 countries and employs 320,000 people worldwide
  • Canada's Couche-Tard has offered to take over the French supermarket giant for 16 billion euro ($19.5 billion)

PARIS: Canadian convenience store chain Couche-Tard has reportedly pulled out of a multi-billion euro takeover of supermarket giant Carrefour after the French government said it would veto the deal.
Negotiations over the 16 billion euro ($19.5 billion) deal ended after a meeting between the French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire and the founder of Couche-Tard Alain Bouchard, Bloomberg news agency said, citing sources.
French ministers had insisted Friday they would not agree to the takeover because it could jeopardize food security, an even more important consideration given the coronavirus pandemic.
In an attempt to reassure ministers, Bouchard had promised to invest billions in Carrefour, said he would maintain employment for two years and that the group would be listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in parallel with Canada, Bloomberg reported.
Contacted by AFP, neither Couche-Tard nor Carrefour had confirmed the information on Friday evening.
Although talks had stopped, anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg said negotiations could resume if the French government changes its position.
But on Friday, France’s Economy Minister made his choice public, telling BMTV and RMC: “My position is a polite, but clear and definitive ‘No’.”
“Food security is a strategic consideration for our country and one does not just hand over one of the large French distributors like that,” Le Maire said.
“Carrefour is the biggest private sector employer in France with nearly 100,000 employees,” he noted, and the group accounts for 20 percent of the food distribution market in the country.
The French statements have not convinced the Canadian government.
A Canadian federal source said while they could understand concerns over allowing a foreign firm to take over such a large national employer, concerns over food security were unsubstantiated.
“But we cannot accuse a leading Canadian company like Couche-Tard of endangering the food sovereignty of an entire country,” the source, who requested anonymity, told AFP.

'Food sovereignty'
On Wednesday, Couche-Tard submitted a non-binding offer for Carrefour, valuing the group at more than 16 billion euros ($19.5 billion).
Le Maire made clear immediately that he was not in favor of a deal involving “an essential link in food security for the French, of food sovereignty.”
The government’s reaction had caused “surprise” at Carrefour itself, according to sources who said the comments were “premature” given that merger discussions had barely begun.
“We haven’t decided yet whether the interest shown is attractive for us,” one company official said on condition of anonymity earlier in the week.
Carrefour has more than 12,300 stores of various formats in more than 30 countries and in 2019 generated a net profit of 1.3 billion euros ($1.5 billion) on revenue of 80.7 billion euros ($97.4 billion).
It employs 320,000 people worldwide.
Couche-Tard has a worldwide network of more than 14,200 stores and earned a net profit of $2.4 billion on sales of $54 billion in its last complete year.
In the United States and several European countries, as well as in Latin America and southeast Asia, it operates under Circle K and other brands.