Tasti D-Lite recently announced its next phase of expansion in the Middle East. Al-Himmah International Limited signed an international master franchise agreement to expand Tasti D-Lite into six Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, and Jordan, with plans to open its first two locations in Saudi Arabia in March 2012.

The company is committed to opening more than 30 units over the next five years.

The Himmah group of companies, with a highly successful background in construction, hospitality, logistics, and infrastructure projects throughout the Middle East, conducted an extensive search to determine the ideal brand and concept as the lead project for its newly-formed food division.

 “Once we began to research options that best fit our market and expansion goals, Tasti D-Lite easily came to the forefront,” says Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Babutan, chairman of Al-Himmah International.

“While we have a robust food and beverage market in the Middle East, there is an even brighter outlook for offerings that match great taste with an excellent nutritional profile. In a region where levels of overweight population nearly mirror that of the U.S., we are confident that Tasti D-Lite’s healthier alternatives to ice cream will earn a growing base of extremely loyal customers.”

Since its inception in 1987, Tasti D-Lite’s popularity has grown largely by word of mouth and has resulted in a huge base of raving fans. At Tasti D-Lite, health conscious individuals can enjoy a dessert that is made with natural ingredients including real dairy, with no artificial sweeteners, that is lower in calories, carbs, and sugar than ice cream and leading frozen yogurt brands.

Thanks to unsolicited exposure on internationally syndicated TV shows such as “Sex and the City,” “The Apprentice,” and “30 Rock,” along with new store openings, demand for the brand has grown worldwide.

Tasti D-Lite is now poised for growth throughout the U.S. and around the world with plans to build a global 500-center franchise network. With its recent acquisition of the Planet Smoothie chain, it has added a 100-store network selling products that are complementary to those offered by Tasti D-Lite.

 “This is an exciting addition to the Tasti D-Lite brand,” says Jim Amos, Tasti D-Lite’s chairman and CEO. “We believe the environment is right for expanded and accelerated growth in the Middle East for a brand known for its great taste and exceptional nutritional profile.

“The Himmah group is dedicated to the brand and understands the unique factors that differentiate our product from the multitude of ice cream and frozen yogurt brands in the market. We’re excited to welcome the Himmah team to the Tasti D-Lite family and are confident that their passion, commitment, and knowledge of the brand will enable them to grow the concept successfully throughout the Middle East.”

Tasti D-Lite first launched its franchise program in 2008 and is now operating in 14 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Internationally, the company has already established a presence through master franchise relationships in the United Arab Emirates, Central America, and Australia, and has commitments to grow the brand in 15 countries across the globe.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Desserts, Growth, News, Pizza, Tasti D-Lite