In the course of five years a Danish entrepreneur has turned a hobby interest into a Middle Eastern fast food empire with an annual turnover of more than 100 million kroner, Børsen reports.
Andreas Lindgreen Borgmann, who has been based in Dubai since 2006, is the founder of the healthy fast food chain Kcal. He has opened 11 restaurants in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, and he has signed franchise agreements for 16 more locations around the Middle East. The plan is next year to open a restaurant in Manhattan in New York City.
“If we enter the USA, it will be a billion-dollar business,” he said.
In order to finance the American adventure, Borgmann is in talks with three large investment funds in Dubai about selling a part of the business. According to Børsen the company is valued at 50 million dollars (about 326 million kroner).
Real estate to real food
Borgmann started the business in 2010 together with Mark Carroll from the UK. The two had been investors in the real estate market but were all but wiped out by the financial crisis. They opened Kcal with the funds they had left and it quickly became a success.
Borgmann was surprised when people showed interest in opening franchises.
“We just thought ‘who would want to franchise a crap little concept like this?’” he said.
Now more than 1,000 requests have been made to open franchises but Borgmann explained they are selective about who they sign with.
“The other day I sat in a meeting with a company with a turnover of 2 billion dollars and they wanted to open 50 restaurants. We could have signed a load of agreements and got money, but we should also be smart about how we use it,” he said.
“I’ve seen too many who have expanded internationally too fast and almost gone bankrupt.”