Marka Acquires Morelli’s Gelato Master Franchise
Morelli’s Gelato is delighted to announce that on July 7, 2015 Marka PJSC acquired the Middle East franchise operations of Morelli’s Gelato, in a deal worth AED 31 million. Marka PJSC is the first public joint stock company focused on the retail and hospitality sector in the UAE.
Morelli's Gelato’s positioning as a luxury gelato franchise business is rooted in its iconic 1932 ice cream parlour in Broadstairs, Kent, England. Over the last decade, the brand has expanded to include iconic locations such as Cafe de Paris in Monte-Carlo, Harrods and more recently in the historic Covent Garden Market Building, opposite the Royal Opera House in London.
Marka’s Master Franchise agreement will see Morelli’s expand in the UAE and into the new markets of Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Egypt and additional units in Saudi Arabia - growth that will continue the company’s strategy of placing a selective focus on markets that combine luxury with economic growth.
The deal also forms part of Marka’s long-term vision and growth strategy of building a portfolio of premium brands and becoming a market leader sports, fashion and hospitality sectors across the Middle East. The acquisition, which includes five outlets, will be integrated into Marka’s dedicated food and beverage division, Marka Hospitality, and is the start of an expansion plan to open 17 additional Morelli’s Gelato outlets in the MENA region by 2020.
Bibi Morelli Schofield, Owner and Managing Director of Morelli’s Gelato, said: “The Morelli family has been making the very best ice cream for five generations. Over the years, the company has harnessed its commitment to quality, sound managerial practices and expert financial planning to lead it to where it is today. Our new partnership with Marka represents the next stage of development and expansion for Morelli’s Gelato and we are delighted to be entering into this relationship, which we believe will build on our vision to bring our fresh gelato to a global clientele.”
Morelli’s has built a strong and loyal clientele through its diverse and high quality menu offering freshly prepared gelato and sorbets, elaborate sundaes, own-blend Kilimanjaro coffee, milkshakes and freshly baked cakes.
Morelli’s Gelato has, to date, been franchised in the Middle East through Gourmet Gulf LLC.