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“Sumo Sushi & Bento was founded by a family who started their first restaurant because in 2000, [because] Dubai lacked a warm family dining experience, and they missed the sushi they enjoyed at home. Our expansion strategy is therefore partially based on identifying franchisees who have similar values, a love of good food and a sincere desire to adopt these principles within their restaurants,” says Alpha Maiava, Franchise Sales and International Growth Manager for Sumo Sushi & Bento International. For the company’s second GCC expansion outside of the UAE (the first Gulf country expansion was in Bahrain), Sumo Sushi opted to partner with Naranjee Hirjee & Co. LLC., a family enterprise based in Oman who just celebrated a century of doing business.
Naranjee is an established company with a long history in Oman. The founders can chart the business back over a hundred years. This means they have the experience to make their franchise successful- rapidly. Also, as a family business we believe that they will enrich our company culture and reinforce our shared values. This will become increasingly important as we continue to expand across the GCC and internationally.” According to Maiava, Sumo Sushi is looking for franchisees who still have positive corporate and social bonds as a company priority, adding that they “chose partners who are committed to our vision of offering a happier Japa- nese dining experience by employing good people and offering good food and good fun.”
The franchise agreement entails three Oman locations, with a total of 15 outlets including locations in Bahrain and the UAE. Founded in 1905, Naranjee Hirjee & Co. LLC. currently has a broad and diversified portfolio that includes FMCG and commodities, in addition to Naranjee Hirjee Catering LLC., a F&B arm. The first Sumo Sushi outlet in the Sultanate is scheduled for opening in mid-2015, and from initial meetings to official signing and announcement, Maiava says the process was seamless and fast: “We chose to work with companies and individuals who share our vision and values and accordingly the franchise process can take some time. However, with Naranjee, we found a successful and thriving family business and the process was relatively quick. There was an immediate chemistry when we first met late in 2014, and from there it was a matter of legal and contract matters before the official signing. Sumo Sushi & Bento remains a family-owned business and because of this, we are very careful when selecting our franchisees.”