Fast food chain German Doner Kebab plans to open 40 outlets across Ireland

FAST food chain German Doner Kebab (GDK) plans to open 40 outlets across Ireland starting next year.

Claiming roots to an ‘80s Berlin diner, today’s Glasgow-headquartered GDK since 2015 has opened scores of branches across the UK, Sweden and the Gulf states of Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates – but none in its namesake Germany.

The firm told the Irish Independent that the first GDK in Ireland would arrive in Dublin by June in an “iconic location” still subject to negotiations, followed by Belfast, then a roll-out to other cities and large towns.

It plans a nationwide network of around 40 restaurants as GDK seeks to replicate its rapid growth across the map of Britain. Over the past four years a dozen GDKs have opened in London, three in Birmingham, and two dozen more from Dundee to Slough, including an Edinburgh branch that opened on Monday. Another eight UK locations are opening soon.

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“We believe expansion into Ireland is the perfect next step for the brand,” said GDK managing director Daniel Bunce.

GDK has gained traction through positive word of mouth and broadly upbeat reviews despite Britain’s crowded market for anything wrapped in a pitta.

GDK markets its food as a premium product with high-quality ingredients and a reduced calorie count. Pricing has been competitive. A typical UK menu lists GDK kebabs on sale for £4.99 to £5.99 (€5.85-€7). A bundled option for a family of four costs £24.99 (€29.25) including sauces, sides and drinks.

Its Fulham branch in southwest London is rated number one among TripAdvisor’s 1,654 ‘quick bites’ in the British capital. More than 300 of the 325 listed reviews gave it top marks, while three deemed it “terrible”, mostly because their orders were wrong.

Several British reviewers have noted, in half-jest, that GDK’s kebabs might be the first they have ever tasted while stone-cold sober – a reference both to the dish’s association with late-night excess and the chain’s alcohol-free beverage options.

A TimeOut review of a north London branch found that a GDK kebab “actually tasted like meat, rather than the blitzkrieg of salt and fat we’re used to guzzling at the bus stop”.

GDK is planning within weeks to open its first North American branches at nine locations, from Brooklyn to Las Vegas and Vancouver. Its owners, the Glasgow-based Sarwar family, in April struck a deal with the Ajlan Company to open franchises in Saudi Arabia, too.

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