Egyptian food restaurant chain Zooba raises US$4m for US expansion

EGYPT Zooba Eats, an Egyptian street food restaurant chain, has recently raised US$4 million during its Series A fundraise in as it seeks to launch its business in the US and expand its outlets in the country.

“(The funding) will be used to open a flagship outlet in Manhattan’s Nolita neighbourhood by next summer and then scale out the Zooba brand in the city, with a long-term aim of spreading across the US like bessara on baladi bread,” the group said  in a statement.

The food restaurant chain said that as part of the expansion drive, Chris Khalifa CEO and Founder Zooba, will head the US business while former Zooba Marketing Manager Ahmed Fahmy will take over the position in the country.

“Being ‘local’ is one of our brand pillars and to achieve that in locations outside of Egypt we are assessing every consumer touchpoint and making sure that we are creating an experience that is both Egyptian and also belonging to the respective neighbourhoods.

To that end, each Zooba branch will have its own unique identity as is already the case with our existing Cairo locations,” Khalifa added.

Enterprise Press reports that Zooba will also expand its business in other countries with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain being the top priorities with others including Riyadh.

In June last year, Zooba partnered with SADF Trading and Development, a company operating and scaling an F&B franchise to open 20 Zooba stores in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on a span of seven years.

Zooba has embarked on an expansion programme after it recently launched a new branch in Sheikh Zayed in November last year raising its outlets to six in the Greater Cairo Area.

The New York outlet will be Zooba’s first US location, but the company has expressed ambitions to open more outlets across the country.

The city has in the past years attracted Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fast-casual restaurants, with places like falafel hit Taïm, Israeli pita spot Miznon, street food icon Mamoun’s, and DC-based Cava launching and expanding their business.

According to Eater New York, Zooba offers classics, as well as twists, on Egyptian street food with its menu centred on dishes like ta’ameya, the local variant of falafel made with fava beans.

Founded in 2012, this is the only publicly known funding round raised by the street food vendor since inception.

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