2021, The Year That Was: Amjad Barakat, Co-Founder, Innovision Holding

"We will have our vision of Brunch & Cake solidified in 2022, with further global expansions into markets like London and India. We have been planning milestone launches in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2021, and 2022 will see them come to life."

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The MENA region has seen quite a few of its homegrown enterprises get acquired by companies from abroad; however, it’s relatively rare to see the opposite happen, and that in itself is a strong argument to be made for why the latter needs to be celebrated as much, if not more, as the latter. As such, UAE-based Innovision Holding’s announcement in November this year that it had purchased Brunch & Cake, an F&B concept born in 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, is deserving of applause on its own- but there’s more to this story than just that.

Innovision Holding

You see, Brunch & Cake had been first brought to the MENA region as a franchise in the UAE in 2019 by Flip International, an F&B consultancy under Innovision Holding. Starting with an outlet in Dubai’s Wasl 51 neighborhood, the brand’s warm and welcoming vibes made it a hit rather quickly, with it soon opening a second location in the Emirate at The Pointe in Palm Jumeirah in 2020, followed by a third branch in Abu Dhabi in 2021.

Related: Related: 2021, The Year That Was: Omar Al Gurg, Founder, Modu Method

Brunch & Cake in Abu Dhabi. Source: Innovision Holding

Wins like these are thus what paved the way for Innovision Holding’s “reverse acquisition” of the Brunch & Cake brand globally, and extensive expansion plans are already underway for the same. “By moving from franchisee to owner, I am truly proud of the teamwork and effort that was put into acquiring this brand, which has become a staple of the UAE scene,” says Amjad Barakat, co-founder, Innovision Holding. “This past year, my team and I devised a clear agenda to pinpoint exactly how we were to commence with our expansion plans, and we have gone on to do so without a hitch.”

Brunch & Cake currently has 10 outlets open around the world, and the brand expects this number to rise to 15 by the end of next year. “As we were able to finalize the acquisition in 2021, 2022 will be a big signing year,” Barakat reveals. “We will have our vision of Brunch & Cake solidified in 2022, with further global expansions into markets like London and India. We have been planning milestone launches in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2021, and 2022 will see them come to life.”

Brunch & Cake at The Pointe in Palm Jumeirah. Source: Innovision Holding

According to Barakat, Brunch & Cake’s first location in Saudi Arabia is expected to launch in Riyadh in September next year, with more to follow across the country later on. “Our launch in Egypt is also very important,” Barakat adds. “The potential for brands like Brunch & Cake is slowly but surely increasing in Egypt. 30% of the market in Egypt is middle class, which is our target market. This indicates a growing space for premium casual dining. It is not yet common in Egypt, and we are excited to make our mark in the market by being the first. This will enable us to come in with an edge, as the first movers in this field and remain memorable to locals. Egypt is currently considered a virgin market, which I find to be quite advantageous for us.”

But it’s not just the MENA region that Barakat and his team are eyeing- a statement from the company had noted its interest in markets like Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore as potential locations for Brunch & Cake in the coming years. “2022 will set the tone for the next five years,” Barakat declares. “All eyes will be on Brunch & Cake, as it becomes a household name in numerous countries.”

Jamal Wick and Amjad Barakat, co-founders, Innovision Holding. Source: Innovision Holding

Reflections 2021: Amjad Barakat, Co-founder, Innovision Holding

Look out for the long term. “As an entrepreneur, thinking ahead of the market situation is key. The COVID-19 crisis was the perfect time to plan, grow, and make riskier moves. Taking chances during a climate of high growth all around is far more difficult. The ability to plan and look ahead to a more profitable timeline, while maintaining a tight grip on current circumstances and the wellness of not only your employees, but your own frame of mind, is all part of the entrepreneurial spirit.”

What you believe, you can achieve. “If you believe and manifest a future in which you succeed, then you will do so. Trust your instinct as a businessperson and choose to move forward with your vision. This is my ethos as an entrepreneur.”

Culture eats strategy (always). “Create an environment of optimism, and your team will not bring in the negativity of the climate to work. This is vital in maintaining a cohesive and thriving work culture.”

Related: 2021, The Year That Was: Salwa Radwi, Founder, Nuqtah

Aby Sam Thomas

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.