Watch: Filipino friends in UAE pool resources to become restauranters

Diners at Off The Hook Seafood Restaurant in Manar Mall, Ras Al Khaimah, which was founded by the friends
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: They started as teammates and supporters at different sports tournaments across the UAE. Working in different fields – including accounting, nursing, business and human resources – their friendship evolved beyond sports, leading them to operate a chain of 12 restaurants across the country.

“We started pooling our resources in 2016 and put up a small business venture to augment our income as Filipino expatriates,” Rolly Brucales, one of the seven Filipino friends and managing partner of Off The Hook (OTH) Seafood Restaurant, told Gulf News during the recent opening of their 12th branch in Manar Mall, Ras Al Khaimah.

Inspired by friends

From seven founding partners, the group invited other investors to open franchises in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujariah.

OTH opened its first franchised branch in Sharjah last year under the trade name, Chef Signature, which is now being managed by 11 Filipino entrepreneurs, who were inspired by Brucales and his partners to also venture in the food business.

Alvin Aliviano

Alvin Aliviano, a radiographer by profession and a permanent fixture at bowling tournaments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, also organised his friends and team mates to open their own OTH franchise in RAK, under a trade name that represents their passion for bowling – Bowls Avenue Cafeteria and Restaurant.

He told Gulf News: “We are composed of ten-pin bowlers from Filipino Bowling Club and our camaraderie have extended beyond the bowling lanes as we are now planning of opening our second franchise in RAK.”

“We also rely on teamwork. Individually, it’s a big challenge to run a business – and we are not only talking about financial investments but also running the daily operations. But things become more manageable when you have partners. It’s like in a game, it’s always boring when you play alone,” added Aliviano.

Brucales said the 13th branch of OTH is expected to open in Fujairah this month. They are also in the final works of opening their first branch outside the UAE – in Doha soon – and also looking at expanding in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in the near future.