Tablez Food Company (TFC), the food and beverage arm of Abu Dhabi’s LuLu International Group, has announced its negotiation of franchise agreement with Galito’s, a South African casual dining restaurant chain launched in 1996 and popular across Africa and Canada.

The exclusive franchise agreement mandates Tablez Food Company (TFC) to develop the Galito’s brand and its offering of chicken flame-grilled with fresh and natural ingredients, across the Middle East, India and Sri Lanka.

TFC is already actively looking at strategic locations to open its outlets in the UAE and aims to invest over $55m in the launch of 15 outlets in the UAE within next four years with the expectation of opening its first restaurant in the country in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Shafeena Yusuff Ali, CEO, Tablez Food Company, said: “We are continuously seeking to expand its portfolio of F&B brands to cater to the region’s diverse culinary preferences, and we are confident that Galito’s exceptional brand … will find a high uptake in the region.”

Louis Germishuys, CEO, Galito’s, added: “We are excited to partner with TFC, with its in-depth knowledge of the region’s F&B scene and its market presence. We look forward to bringing our customised meal options to the Middle East’s health-conscious diners.”

Galito’s’s entry into the Middle East marks a significant step forward in the company’s international expansion strategy, as well as its core vision to emerge as a global brand. In India, TFC will also be investing $10m to launch 10 outlets over the next five years.