Pie Face Holdings Pty Ltd., an Australian micro-bakery cafe chain specializing in sweet and savory pies with a U.S. subsidiary, announced its expansion of operations into the Middle East after signing an agreement with the hospitality division of Landmark Group, a Dubai-based retail and hospitality conglomerate with operations in retail, hospitality, leisure, health and wellness.

Foodmark, a division of Landmark Hospitality has committed to opening a minimum of 100 Pie Face stores in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar over the next 10 years. A number of commissaries will also open, to support specialist production of Pie Face products for the Middle East.

Pie Face entered its first foreign market, the U.S., in early 2012 when it launched in Manhattan, was featured on Late Night with David Letterman, and attracted $15 million for its Manhattan roll out from Steve Wynn, the founder and CEO of Wynn Resorts. There are now seven company-owned Pie Face stores operating in Manhattan, with more sites anticipated in the near future.

Pie Face entered the New Zealand market with partners Julian Field and Jared Palmer, who opened their first store in Auckland on September 1, 2013 and are committed to open 62 Pie Face stores across the North and South Islands over the next 10 years.

The company is also in discussions with potential partners in Indonesia, Japan, India, and Canada.

Pie Face retained Univest Consultancy Group WLL, a global advisory firm based in Kuwait, to advise on Pie Face’s entry into the Middle East and conduct a search for the partners for the region. Landmark was selected due to its strong track record in retailing in the region, its commitment to growing the region’s food and beverage sector, and its enthusiasm for the Pie Face brand and business model. 

"We are excited that our work with Univest has led us to be in partnership with a group such as Landmark Group in this region,” says Wayne Homschek, co-Founder and CEO of Pie Face. “The Group has a 40-year track record in the Middle East, is the largest retail tenant in the region with over 22 million square feet of retail space and over 45,000 employees, and has a dedicated and experienced food services team.”

Established in 2007, Foodmark operates a number of internationally-franchised restaurants within the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, including Italian café Carluccio’s, Mango Tree, Chi’Zen, and Max’s Chicken, and has also launched Zafran, a home grown, Indian, casual dining restaurant. Max Burger, a burger franchise from Sweden is the latest quick-service restaurant addition to the Foodmark portfolio. Foodmark also has joint ventures with Ushna, The Meat Company, La Gaufrette, and Bazerkan.

"We are thrilled to be in partnership with Pie Face and it marks our entry into the bakery café segment,” says Kieran Mallon, COO of Foodmark, the food & beverage division of Landmark Hospitality. “It is our endeavor to keep introducing new concepts to the region and Pie Face is a globally unique concept with a fantastic product, a quirky brand, a fantastic business model and an experienced management team. We look forward to making this an iconic brand and delighting customers in the Middle East with a completely new offering."

“Pie Face offers superior-quality, fresh-baked products complemented with great coffee,” says Khaled El-Marsafy, Vice Chairman of Univest. “This provides Landmark Hospitality a unique opportunity to enter and penetrate the Middle East coffee market with such an innovative bakery café brand. Univest is proud to have brought Pie Face and Landmark Hospitality together and will continue to support Pie Face through our Dubai based office dedicated to the food and beverage industry."

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Desserts, News, Pie Face