The 400 Gradi Italian restaurant brand will open its first venue outside of Australia this year in the Middle East, through a franchise partnership with Kuwait-based M.H. Alshaya Co.
The Naples-inspired Italian restaurant brand offers handcrafted Italian cuisine, including pizza, pasta, gnocchi, gelato and desserts.
The brand is the creation of chef Johnny Di Francesco, the first Australian ever trained in Naples to the Associazione Verace (AVPN) and president of AVPN Australia.
Commenting on the new partnership, Di Francesco said: “This is a groundbreaking milestone for the Gradi Group. Expanding to the Middle East is an exciting step forward, especially through Alshaya, who are a pioneer in franchising international brands.
“We are delighted with this partnership and we look forward to presenting guests with the best pizza in the world, and great Italian food, at the official debut of 400 Gradi.”
Mohammed Alshaya, executive chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co., said: “We’re constantly looking for ways to bring authentic and diverse dining experiences to our customers in the Middle East.
“400 Gradi offers a complete Neapolitan experience, and we believe that it will be an exciting addition to the regional dining scene. We look forward to a successful partnership together.”
In 2014, Di Francesco was named the ‘world’s best pizza maker’ at the World Championships in Italy for his authentic Napoletana-style pizza, which is cooked for only 90 seconds at a temperature of 400 degrees.
The 400 Gradi restaurant brand was launched in 2008 and has four locations in Australia and a fifth opening soon in the Middle East.
M.H. Alshaya Co. is a franchise operator for over 80 brands, including Starbucks, P.F. Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory.
The company operates over 3,500 stores across the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, Turkey and Europe.