BiCE set to expand in Middle East

BiCE Restaurants have earmarked the Middle East for expansion. The Italian chain, which offers chic trattoria-style dining at its 18 outlets worldwide, has new restaurants set to open in Jeddah and Beirut this year.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  March 20, 2005

BiCE Restaurants have earmarked the Middle East for expansion. The Italian chain, which offers chic trattoria-style dining at its 18 outlets worldwide, has new restaurants set to open in Jeddah and Beirut this year. Roberto Ruggeri, president of the BiCE Restaurant Group, visited the region last month to review operations at the existing BiCE properties at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach and the Hilton Abu Dhabi. “At present we have 18 BiCE open, and in 2005/2006 we will have at least seven more,” Ruggeri told Hotelier Middle East. “After the opening of Jeddah, which will take place this fall, we will certainly expand in the UAE Gulf area. We are under construction in Beirut and have negotiations for Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait and Amman,” he adds. Established in 1926, BiCE is a family-run business, which focuses on presenting an authentic, Italian dining experience. “Italian cuisine is very different from region to region. We are from the north (Milan) and our influence is from Tuscany, where my mother Bice was born and raised. Tuscan cuisine is the healthiest, since it uses only herbs and olive oil,” Ruggeri explains. The BiCE brand is the same the world over, although, as Ruggeri points out, the concept may have to be modified to suit the Saudi market. “We might have to tailor it a bit in Jeddah, because of the lack of spirits,” he says. Roberto Rella is the company’s UAE and Gulf area managing director. Along with Andrea Mugavero, regional corporate chef, they will be responsible for opening the new restaurant in Saudi Arabia. They will also be responsible for introducing the new BiCE Grand Café brand to the region. “BiCE Grand Cafe was conceived in order to satisfy the needs on the USA market. It is a family-style restaurant, and will have large portions that can be shared at the table, moderate prices, and a very large menu, with at least 150 dishes always available. The cuisine will be general; with pasta, pizza, hamburgers, some Chinese, some Mexican, but all of the choices will be served in large portions. We have started to look for a location in Dubai,” Ruggeri explains. “Our future plan is to have BiCE in the global market. Next year, we will start to look into the Asian market, for the moment we are present only in Tokyo. With the help of all my great team, and the new generation of my family, my desire is to deliver Italian food with love and passion,” he adds.

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