(Salem, OR)—Whether you’re in Pensacola, Fla., or Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, “the best pizza you can have at home” will soon be only a phone call away.

Sense Gourmet, a subsidiary of Abu-Dhabi-based Foodco Holding, recently signed an exclusive master franchising agreement with Figaro’s Pizza to open stores in eight Middle East countries beginning in 2007.

Plans call for the opening of 35 locations in the UAE alone, with the first five Figaro’s Pizza locations expected to open in March 2007 in Abu Dhabi (2), Dubai (2) and Sharjah. Additional locations are planned for Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Lebanon.

Sense Gourmet was formed as a subsidiary of Foodco Holding to expand into restaurant franchising, catering and other retail operations in the hospitality sector. The company was established with the specific purpose of establishing high-potential restaurants across GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries in partnership with renowned restaurant operators, as well as catering services.
“Our studies showed that there is an unfilled niche in the Middle East for high-quality products, especially for fresh pizzas that people can take home and bake for themselves,” said Foodco Holdings Managing Director Ahmed bin Ali Khalfan Al Dhahry.

In addition to expanding to the Middle East, Figaro’s Pizza also recently signed a master franchising agreement for Mexico, where 50 units are expected to open. Figaro’s currently has 114 locations in 20 states and Canada.

“We are very excited that our very first expansion outside of North America is with such a distinguished, experienced and well capitalized group as Sense Gourmet,” said Ron Berger, Figaro’s Pizza chairman and CEO. “Their dedication to offering consumers only the highest quality products and services attracted us to them and make them the perfect partner for Figaro’s.”

Opened in Salem, Ore., in 1981, Figaro’s has built a brand reputation around pizza made with 100 percent real cheese, the best meats and freshest vegetables all generously portioned to createFlavors that Sing!” Figaro’s Pizza has become one of the countries fastest-growing franchises and is the largest we-bake or you-bake pizza franchise in the United States.

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