Lebanon Businessnews News

Casper & Gambini’s to open in Ramallah
Ant Ventures launches a vast
regional expansion plan
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Local hospitality group Ant Ventures is planning a large expansion in the Arab region. The group, founded in 1996 by Anthony Maalouf, owns and operates Casper & Gambini’s, From The Tree, Eatalian, Falafel & More, and a supply company called Main Springs. The group also owns and manages the ‘35 Rooms’ hotel, a four-star property in Hamra.

Casper & Gambini’s is tapping the Bahraini market this January, it will also open its first branch in Erbil, a branch in Oman, in August, a branch in Sudan by the end of 2014, and a new branch in KSA, located in Riyadh by the end of the year.

It will also debut in the Palestinian territories. “We will be opening a new branch in Ramallah in June,” Maalouf said as there is a large demand on the concept. Casper & Gambini’s management found it a good opportunity to develop the brand there. “Teams will be trained in Lebanon and in Jordan.”

Casper & Gambini’s is already present in Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Maalouf said that franchising was a great support to the company, given the unstable market here.

The company’s other concept, Falafel & More, operates two branches locally and will open two additional outlets, this year. The brand will also be franchised to Oman in Q4 2014, and a few locations are currently under negotiation in the USA, particularly in airports.

The company will franchise From The Tree in Oman, in Q4 2014. Eatalian is also expected to open in Oman at the same time.

Ant Ventures is also developing a new concept, called ‘Bab Idris’, a Lebanese upscale, casual cuisine whose menu is being developed by chef Joe Barza.

“We will be franchising the new concept to Oman and KSA in Q4 2014,” said Maalouf with plans for Europe and the US, at a later stage. “Our main target is to make the concept of Bab Idris similar to Liza, in Paris. The new restaurant might also open locally, depending on economic conditions.

The group will also franchise its 35 Rooms hotel. “We found an appropriate building in Erbil, which also has 35 rooms, and we found it a good location to host the hotel.”
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Jan 27, 2014
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