Irish chocolate giant Butlers said on Saturday it has signed a franchise agreement to open outlets in the UAE.
The deal between Prime Hospitality and Butlers Chocolates, the manufacturer that owns and operates Butlers Chocolate Cafés in Ireland and England, will see the first shops opening by the third quarter of this year.
The company also hinted that the UAE stores might be the first step in an expansion plan across the Gulf region.
Owen Sorensen, of Butlers Chocolates, said in a statement: "The UAE has always been a market of immense interest to us. We have been carefully looking for a local partner with a successful track record and high reputation to represent our brand.
"Prime Hospitality was the ideal choice for us with their expertise, quality, and network to maximise the success of Butlers Chocolate Cafés in the UAE, and potentially the region."
Nawwaf Ghobash, managing partner of Prime Hospitality, added: "We are very proud to represent pioneers in the confectionery - based concepts to establish their presence in the UAE through us.
"This milestone comes as part of our strategy to expand the portfolio of Prime Hospitality, and we are looking forward to the launch of the first Butlers Chocolate Café in the region."
Prime Hospitality is the food and beverage arm of Ghobash Trading and Investment group, which has interests in retail and hospitality, oil and gas, real estate, healthcare and information technology.
Butlers Chocolates is Ireland's leading independent chocolate producer.
The company, owned by the Sorensen family, is celebrating 80 years in business this year. Butlers Chocolates are exported all over the world and are available in over 40 countries.
Butlers Chocolate Café is an award winning concept that was conceived in Dublin in 1998. Today, its network includes 23 cafés located in Ireland, the UK, New Zealand and Pakistan.