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Friday, June 2, 2023

Kitopi acquires restaurant group AWJ


Kitopi has acquired Dubai-founded restaurant group AWJ, the holding company behind Operation Falafel, Catch 22, Awani, Sushi Do and other takeaway and dine-in brands.

The group operates more than 32 stores in the UAE and Saudi Arabia; Operation Falafel serves more than 2 million customers worldwide annually. AWJ also has franchises in New York and London and employs more than 1,300 people.

The concept of AWJ was co-founded and developed by Co-Founding Directors Manhal Naser, who has been the CEO of the group since its inception, and Co-Founding Directors, Tamer Bazzari, who chaired the fund’s corporate body and acted as investment manager.

The acquisition announcement is part of Kitopi’s ongoing strategy to invest in and grow regional brands and take them globally.

Highlights of Kitopee

Originally known as Cloud Kitchen, Kitopi today defines itself as “a technology-powered multi-brand restaurant with more than 100 brands operating in more than 200 locations across five markets.”

read: Kitopi launches first kitchens in Bahrain and Qatar

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will see AWJ Brands Group explore new market expansion with a strong presence and growing network of locations in Kitopi.

AWJ will also benefit from Kitopi’s pioneering technology SKOS (Smart Kitchen Operating System), one of the cornerstones of the company’s early success.

Commenting on the acquisition, former Group CEO and Co-Founder Director Manhal Naser said: “It has been an honor to build, lead and work closely with the AWJ team, which I consider family. We build on our core foundations, Raising the bar and laying the business foundation for a sustainable future – thanks to our 1,300+ team champions, our shareholders who support us, the unique brands we create and the millions of consumers we serve.

“The time has come for a new chapter, and after working closely with co-founders and CEOs Kitopi and Mohamed Ballout, I believe they are best positioned to take AWJ to the next level.”

Mohamad Ballout, CEO and Co-Founder of Kitopi, commented: “To meet the world’s need for creating joy, we always strive to bring the best to our customers. To this end, we are very proud to acquire AWJ and its portfolio of brands.

“AWJ’s co-founders and leaders have done a fantastic job building its iconic brand and growing it internationally – it will be a privilege to continue to innovate, elevate and expand its success.”

While AWJ will welcome a new CEO, AWJ will retain the original team that led to its success and operate as a separate vertical for Kitopi On Demand.

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