According to Yousif Abdulghani, managing director at McDonald’s Middle East Development Company, which oversees its Middle East and Africa franchises, the six GCC countries are now seeing 900,000 customers a day at its 369 outlets.
“A record year in terms of sales. In general, we have been growing at the rate of 15 to 20 percent on revenues year-on-year,” he said, in an interview to be published in Arabian Business on Sunday.
The company, which operates seven-fully owned franchises in the GCC, saw revenues of US$750m last year, and is now undertaking a huge expansion plan that will see 585 outlets by 2015.
“Saudi Arabia is another big market for us so we look at both, the eastern and central region, as well as western region and combined we ended 2012 with 136 restaurants across Saudi Arabia and we intend to reach as high as 240, so we really are doubling up in Saudi Arabia,” Adbulghani added.
The UAE – which currently has 108 McDonald’s outlets – will also see huge growth with 150 outlets by 2015.
Speaking at the Gulfood conference in Dubai on Tuesday, Abdulghani also highlighted the growing use of social media platforms by customers. Abdulghani was discussing major trends affecting the Middle East food industry in a lively panel debate session entitled ‘Who is Shaping the Future of Food? Big Business, Consumer or Public Policy?’
“What is exciting and also challenging to see is how lifestyle shifts, technology and social media are changing the way that people interact with brands in our industry. Customers no longer want just to be broadcast to, they expect to be able to have personalised conversations and interact one-on-one with brands,” Abdulghani said.
“For example, consumers are more active in seeking nutritional information of the food they consume – whether this means checking the packaging for the ingredients or nutritional content. McDonald’s are leaders in making sure nutritional information of our products is conveniently available on our website, tray mats and flyers and will continue to innovate here to make sure our consumers make informed choices of the food they eat.”