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Under500 co-founders Mahmood Bartawi and Fadi Ghaly

Accelerating growth Five tips for startups wanting to expand their operations through franchising


By Mahmood Bartawi and Fadi Ghaly

adi and I started Under500 in June this year, as our first venture that aimed to bring healthy food that also tastes good to the UAE. We wanted to crack the healthy vs. tasty challenge with our concept, and introduce fresher, healthier dishes that are all under 500 kcals to the region. While I am an Emirati coming from a commercial background, Fadi joins this venture with years of experience in the creative industries. Together, we have joined forces as a power duo ready to take


Entrepreneur december 2016

hold of the world’s healthconscious food market, and educate people on what it really involves in order to eat healthily. We started Under500 with a greater vision from day one. Recognizing the need for adults and children in the region and greater GCC market to eat and live healthier, we consulted with leading food specialists from around the world to perfect the recipes and tastes to come up with the perfect balance of nutrients and goodness. We did not stop there and with the consultancy support of one of industry’s leading fran-

chise specialists, Francorp, we aim to take Under500 to the world with an aggressive growth plan of 50-70 stores in the MENA region within five years. For those of you who are considering similar goals for their franchise enterprises, here are our top tips for our fellow startups in this space:

1. First of all, you need to

with a healthy food concept. We always wanted to set up a franchise, and so our business model was based on that. We believe in our concept and how it can have an impact on not just people’s diets, but also become a lifestyle choice. With healthy options being few and far between in Dubai, we started our innovative, home-style café concept in the summer of 2016 to bring not only healthy food, but food that tastes good to the region. However, we never intended

ensure that you believe in your concept, and know that it can appeal to a wider market. The major junk food franchises around the world have An Under500 meal all seen a drop in sales, because the world population is shifting to healthier foods, and there is a vacuum that needs to be filled- and we are yet to identify a brand that has reached the top

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