Kauai, the South African healthy lifestyle brand, announced it has grown to more than 130 stores nationwide and is now expanding into Dubai. The first store, to open in December 2013, will be a pilot store, with several more stores planned over the next three years.

“Most of the world’s top brands have presence in Dubai and have been very well received. We have every belief that Kauai, the brand, is world class much like these other global brands. The property developers with whom we are opening our first store receive roughly 1500 applications a month from all over the world so it is with great honor and pride that our brand credentials allowed our proposal to be accepted,” says Kauai chief global development officer, Geli Briolas. “Our first store location was chosen as a strategic development location exposing us to the high standards expected from a discerning consumer whilst allowing ourselves to prove the concept before developing several more stores. The restaurants will operate under the name of Kauai Restaurants LLC in the United Arab Emirates.”

Dubai, known as one of the shopping hubs of the world and visited by over 60 million tourists per year, is a logical choice for the location of the first international Kauai store. The Dubai store, located in Park Island on the Dubai Marina, will be made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials keeping close to the heritage of the islands.

“We appointed a master franchisee who we believe will do justice to opening our brand across the entire Middle East. The group have a well-structured organization across the region, with excellent expertise pertaining specifically to the food and beverage industry,” Geli says. “Our Franchisees are Kauai-minded people who share our vision for bringing our best kept secret concept to the rest of the world. It was imperative for us to not choose a very large company with many brands in the stable, but rather one that could nurture the brand during our early years in the Middle East and thereafter accelerate store growth on a sound footing.”

Roughly 98 percent of the menu will remain the same as the Kauai South Africa offering, although slight adjustments have been made to include country-specific cuisine to suit the local palette.

After Dubai, Kauai plans to take their healthy food offering to India, then the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and possibly Germany. They have also received interest in Namibia and Botswana.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, News, Kauai