The first GRK City Centre Me'aisem in IMPZ. The first GRK City Centre Me'aisem in IMPZ.

Landmark Group is set to launch the first GRK Fresh Greek restaurant outside the USA at the recently opened City Centre Me’aisem in Dubai.

Foodmark, the food and beverage division of Landmark Group, has been working on the launch of the brand in the region over the last year. It entered a master franchise development agreement to develop GRK Fresh Greek across the GCC, with the first five restaurants forecast to open in the UAE by the end of 2016.

GRK opened its first outlet in 2012, following which the brand has expanded to three stores in the USA, with plans to extend to a further eight stores over the next 24 months.

The restaurant has carved a niche in serving up, Greek food with a menu of simple, fully customisable dishes including its signature Yeeros – a hand layered spit roasted meat and marinated.

Vikram Noronha, COO of fast-casual concepts at Foodmark, said while quick service restaurants have grown at a much faster pace than any other restaurant segment in the industry, consumers’ changing expectations and evolving tastes have seen dramatic growth in the fast casual dining segment, which Landmark has identified as a key opportunity.

“Through brands like GRK Fresh Greek we’re able to appeal to a broader customer base which is more discerning and demands higher quality, while still relying on the convenience provided by traditional quick service restaurants,” he said.

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“From a strategic standpoint, this has allowed Landmark to diversify its restaurant offering to expand into a rapidly-growing restaurant segment and creating a wider variety of options in the market.”

Marino Stratigakis, director of operations GRK US, said: “We are thrilled to be in Dubai as part of our efforts to bring authentic Greek food to the world. Our expansion in this region is not just a new twist on sharwama or gyro; we are introducing Yeero, the way it is supposed to be served and pronounced.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding healthier, higher-quality fresh foods. GRK offers the benefits of the Mediterranean diet through traditional Greek cooking in a fresh and fast casual setting.”

GRK makes use of meats, Greek extra virgin olive oil, Greek honey and yogurt, fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits. The company’s clean label approach ensures its meats are gluten-free with no MSG, fillers, preservatives or additives.

GRK UAE will introduce a new signature product to the region. The Bifteki is a traditional beef patty made with olive oil, spices and herbs. All vegetables served will be sourced locally, while a range of traditional Greek spices, meats and delicacies used as ingredients are imported from the USA and Greece.