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The Maldivian Franchise Fiesta

Shahudha Mohamed
20 January 2020, MVT 10:38
During the official opening ceremony of KFC Maldives on July 22, 2018. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
20 January 2020, MVT 10:38

Within the waves of urbanization beaching onto the shores of Maldives, fast food chains have recently swept the hearts of our island nation. Every new outlet popping up in the capital opens their doors to the public with a festive celebration, tickling customer taste buds with tantalizing teasers. With the exciting new flavours each brand brings to the table, it’s no surprise that the hype increase with every new opening.

One such eatery with several years of experience under their belt is Secret Recipe. A Malaysian company established in 1997, the halal-certified cafe’ chain company currently operates 440 outlets all over the world. In 2016, they introduced their brand to the Maldivian capital, opening an outlet in the heart of bustling Male’ City.

The spiciest topic following their opening on Majeedhee Magu revolved around the delicious Malaysian cuisine and flavorful cakes being served in the restaurant. Including the new outlet in Hulhumale’s Waterfront Building, the brand currently boasts two outlets in the Maldives.

Maldivians already had a soft spot for the Malaysian tastes of Secret Recipe, even before their tastes made a home in the Maldives. Dining at one of the outlets was definitely on the to-do list of every Maldivian visiting Malaysia – a trip would simply not be concluded without savouring one of Secret Recipe’s signature dishes.

Offering cuisines similar to Maldivian palates, the love our people share for this brand has been evident since the beginning, and for those watching, it surely shows. Now, their cakes have become a mandatory aspect of any birthday celebration among locals.

On the topic of franchises, Gloria Jeans Coffee that opened in Rasfannu Pavilion last April deserves a notable mention. The chain that blossomed from a small coffee shop founded by an American actress by the name of Gloria Jeans at Long Grove, Illinois, right outside Chicago, USA mid-1979, now flaunts over 1000 outlets across 39 different countries.

With the ever-increasing demand, two additional outlets opened in the Maldives shortly after the brand’s introduction, including one in the departure hall of Velana International Airport, and one in front of Velaanaage on Ameer Ahmed Magu. The wide range of hot and cold beverages available in these outlets are simply to die for.

As Maldives offers a strong customer base for outlets of well-known chain outlets, the country remains an attractive spot for such businesses. PHOTO: AHMED MAANIS/ BRANDS OF MALDIVES

Some brands that entered the franchise scene a little later on, but experienced huge success are Pizza Hut and KFC, which both entered the food and beverage scene in 2018. The anticipation of these openings was such that queues popped up and continued for hours with eager customers absolutely buzzing with excitement for the flavour-extravaganzas that awaited. Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut have now successfully become popular household names in the Maldives just as they are internationally known to be.

Most recently, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) signed agreements with Italy’s HSM Host International – a significant name in the provision of food and beverages in various airports located across the globe. This bestowed upon the Maldivian franchise arena, several new openings at the WaterFront Restaurant area opened in front of Velana International Airport’s domestic terminal, including secondary outlets for KFC and Pizza Hut as well as brand-new offerings such as Costa Coffee and Harvest Market. HSM currently operates cafés and restaurants in the airports of over 150 countries.

The more traction franchise businesses gain, the more attractive a spot the Maldives becomes for entrepreneurs looking to open outlets hailing from marketable food-chains. The eagerness of locals flocking to newly opened eateries is proof that, at least in the current business environment, one cannot go wrong with investing a promising brand in the Maldivian archipelago.

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