Free­dom con­fi­dent as ri­vals set up

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - @Sar­watNasir sar­wat@7days.ae

The owner of Dubai’s Free­dom Pizza chain has shrugged off the ar­rival of its for­mer fran­chiser, NKD Pizza, say­ing his firm has had a head start and al­ready won over count­less cus­tomers.

CEO Ian Ohan orig­i­nally ran NKD Pizza in Dubai but split from the Amer­i­can firm and re­branded his five stores as Free­dom Pizza.

He spoke to 7DAYS af­ter NKD Pizza an­nounced last week that it is open­ing three out­lets in the city.

Free­dom last year took its 250 fran­chise staff, in­clud­ing 135 drivers with it.

NKD Pizza is open­ing in Busi­ness Bay, Mo­tor City and a flag­ship store in Dubai Ma­rina and pledges to of­fer the same fo­cus on healthy piz­zas as its ri­val.

But Ohan told 7DAYS: “We treat all com­pe­ti­tion re­spect­fully but our true fo­cus has and al­ways will be on pro­vid­ing rel­e­vant, thought­ful prod­ucts made with high-qual­ity in­gre­di­ents, de­liv­ered hot and fast, ev­ery time.

“We have a strong vi­sion to con­tin­u­ally evolve and in­no­vate across all ar­eas of our busi­ness, whether that be our slick on­line or­der­ing, amaz­ing lo­cal sup­pli­ers or how we grow and care for our awesome team mem­bers and most im­por­tantly all of our cus­tomers.”

He said Free­dom has al­ready es­tab­lished a By Sar­wat Nasir loyal cus­tomer base of more than 200,000 peo­ple. Both out­lets pitch them­selves as the healthy al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional stodgy pizza, of­fer­ing veg­eta­bles from Green­heart Or­ganic Farms and gluten-free bases.

In a news re­lease last week, NKD Pizza promised cus­tomers healthy produce.

It says it has “one of the largest bike fleets” in the busi­ness for those who would like their de­liv­er­ies made in “record time”.

Ed­ward Rizk, the firm’s Pres­i­dent of in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions, said: “We are very ex­cited to be back in the UAE af­ter an ab­sence of just over a year. “We know that our cus­tomers have been pa­tiently wait­ing for our re­turn and we are de­lighted to in­form them that we are ready to con­tinue serv­ing them with the high­est qual­ity pizza that they have grown ac­cus­tomed to from NKD Pizza.

“Our Dubai store open­ings this year is the first step in our growth plan for a ma­jor re­turn to the UAE, one of our most im­por­tant mar­kets glob­ally.”

EARNED OUR CRUST: NKD Pizza rid­ers

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