Ayaz Farooq,Managing Director, Karachi Darbar Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

The name might lead one to believe that the brand has been imported from Pakistan, but Karachi Darbar remains a stellar example of the potential and success of many home-grown brands in the UAE.

From one outlet in 1973 to 28 restaurants across Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, Karachi Darbar boasts a monthly turnover of more than Dh30 million. This kind of fame is only possible due to the ease of business, transparency of investment and the government’s state-of-the-art infrastructure, says Ayaz Farooq, Managing Director, Karachi Darbar Group.

He has taken over the reins from his father, Mohammed Farooq, Chairman and Founder.

The company has ventured into outdoor bulk catering and is contracted by a leading airline to deliver 2,000 naans (flatbread) daily, for their business-class passengers. But just when you think the brand has reached its pinnacle, the managing director outlines its expansion plans, which includes a foray into real estate. The group is building a 12-storey tower in Al Qusais, Dubai, and another in Karachi — called the KDR buildings — both of which will house Karachi Darbar restaurants.

There are also plans to open the first Karachi Darbar in London in 2014.

A whole new restaurant concept is also in the pipeline. “We are known for our value pricing and therefore manage to cater to everyone from the taxi driver to middle-class families,” says Farooq. “But there is a huge expat population located in new Dubai that love our food and have been urging us to open something more upscale. This would involve a more contemporary ambience where we won’t be able to sell a plate of biryani for Dh10.”

But, assures the owner, the brand’s quality and unique flavour will be maintained. After all, everything is prepared in a central kitchen that is housed in a 40,000-square-foot facility in Dubai, where daily 1,600 kilograms of rice, 2,500 kilograms of mutton and 3,800 kilograms of chicken are transformed into biryanis, curries and kebabs.

By the end of the year the group is anticipating the launch of six new restaurants and an increase of Dh5 million in its monthly turnover. This is feasible, says the 66-year-old founder. “Give your sweat and blood to Dubai and in return Dubai will give you wealth and victory.”