On the back of strong revenues, homegrown Dubai concept, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki, recognised for an unconventional spin on Japanese food, is expanding with six new restaurants in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
First to open imminently is a mini, licensed version of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki at Time Out Market Dubai in Souk Al Bahar, followed in May by the expansion of the current outlet at Dar Wasl mall with a second location next-door. This venue will house chef Reif Othman’s new bakery and breakfast café, serving his trademark cakes with coffee and tea, alongside a new breakfast menu.
Also in May is the opening of the first franchised Reif Japanese Kushiyaki restaurant in the world, in Cairo with Baky Hospitality set to seat 140 diners in a licensed space. Three new franchised locations are also being explored for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with the first due to open later this year.
Despite the industry crisis, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki in Dar Wasl mall, which opened late August 2019, reported a Q4 2020 year on year revenue increase of 85 per cent, attributed to a consistent and creative menu offering, loyal clientele and engaging communication over the lockdown.
To support the development drive, Othman’s longstanding chef of over a decade, Jun Tomioka, with 16 years of experience, takes on a regional chef de cuisine role for the existing restaurants, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki in Dar Wasl and Food District, and Kushi by Reif at Depachika, Nakheel Mall – as well as upcoming openings.
“It was always our intention to expand the Reif Japanese Kushiyaki brand regionally and internationally. In light of the pandemic, we have been able to negotiate compelling deals with landlords and franchisees, allowing us to take the concept further afield in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. We are also assessing additional locations both in the region and globally,” says Ahsan Kahlon, co-owner, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki, and Othman’s business partner.
Othman also takes on consultant chef ventures and pop-up collaborations in the UAE and internationally.
Reif Japanese Kushiyaki restaurants, which boast both terrace and indoor seating across all locations, follow the latest health and safety municipality directives including state-of-the-art air filtering systems, masks, sanitisation, safe spacing and Perspex dividers.