Fired Up announces Middle East franchise agreement
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Sun July 6, 2008 12:00 am

INTERNATIONAL. Today, with over 150 restaurants in 26 US states plus ten locations in the Middle East, Fired Up and Carino's Italian Grill has announced an agreement with Amer International whereby Amer will acquire an unlimited use licence for the Carino's Italian Grill brand rights in Africa, the Gulf region, and parts of Asia, including India and China.

Amer was founded in 1985 by its Chairman, Mansour Amer, and today is a prominent conglomerate, operating in a wide variety of fields, including real estate development and construction, hospitality and agriculture. The company's real estate developments are focused on the 'Porto' concept, a tourism-centric design that includes world-class hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, international marinas, malls and spas designed to compete with Puerto Banus in Spain or France's Saint Tropez, the renowned vacation destinations for the rich and famous and luxury yacht owners.

Amer's first Porto project was Porto Marina located on the North coast of Egypt. Given the success of that project, the company is currently building its newest megaproject in Ain Sokhna, Porto Sokhna, located on the Red Sea. Another of Amer's current projects is Porto Golf, located near Porto Marina. The Amer Group has received numerous international awards for these projects and is today's Egypt's premier tourism and resort development company.

Within its hospitality business, Amer is a leading casual dining company in Egypt currently operating five international restaurant concepts, including Carino's Italian Grill and Chili's.

"Fired Up is a company that I founded with Creed and I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with one of the strongest leadership teams in the industry as we continue to build our successful Carino's Italian Grill brand," said Norman Abdallah, CEO of Fired Up.

"I am joining the Amer Group as their Senior Vice Chairman and President to assist Mansour Amer in the global expansion of the Carino's brand, expand its current portfolio of other leading brands and assist in the development and expansion of its Porto concept. While I will be leaving Fired Up on a day-to-day basis, I will remain involved through my continuation on its board of directors. Carey Carrington, Fired Up's President and CFO, will be joining me as Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer to replicate our team's success in the United States. Carey will also remain involved in Fired Up's continued success through his new appointment to its board of directors."

Mansour Amer said: "I believe Carino's is a dynamic brand and will be a strong asset to our existing portfolio of unique and established brands. We will use this new venture to develop not only in Egypt but globally as well. I have been business partners with Norman Abdallah since we introduced casual dining in the Middle East with Chili's in 1994 and I now look forward to him joining our family here in Egypt."

Carino's Italian Grill is a casual dining concept that appeals to a broad range of customers by capitalising on its exhibition kitchens and the romance of the grill with the warmth of the fire. Carino's innovative menu offers premium quality food in a casual environment. Guests choose from among generous portions of authentic Italian pastas, seafood, steaks, salads, breads, pizzas and delicious desserts.

"This international expansion marks a significant milestone in the history of Carino's Italian Grill," said Creed Ford, Chairman of Fired Up. "By tapping into the success we've enjoyed for over ten years in North America and combining it with Amer's extensive knowledge of world markets and the restaurant industry, we're going to be able to offer a terrific product to consumers around the globe."

Creed Ford will resume the post of CEO in addition to his role as Chairman of Fired Up. Warren Chang has been promoted to President of Fired Up. Chang started working with Fired Up in September 2007 as Chief Marketing Officer bringing over 25 years of solid brand and restaurant retail marketing experience. He has served on both corporate and advertising agency sides of the business to include YUM Brands, Applebee's, McDonald's Corp, TGI Friday's, Triarc Restaurant Group, Kraft Foods, 7-11, Frito-Lay, Phillips Petroleum, Tracy-Locke/BBDO Advertising, and The Richards Group. His previous positions of leadership have included Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President Marketing, Vice President Product & Menu Development R&D, Account Group Director, along with valuable restaurant operational experience with start-up concepts.



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