President Mohamed Nasheed attended the official opening of Marrybrown, a Halal Malaysian fast food chain and the first international fast food chain to come to the Maldives.
The Marrybrown franchise currently operates in 15 countries worldwide. The restaurant in the Maldives was established by Lily International Private Limited, a leading business venture in the Maldives.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, the president thanked Lily International for its various contributions to Maldivian businesses since the 1980s.
The president also noted that the Maldivian lifestyle is changing to accommodate businesses enterprises such as Marrybrown, and that steps are being taken by the government to facilitate competition in the open market. The president said necessary legal amendments such as tax and state income laws were being made, and hoped more service enterprises would be established in the Maldives.
Marrybrown Chairman Lawrence Liew said the chain caters to a general population. “We have something different for everyone at a reasonable price in a clean environment. Our kids play centre creates a positive family space,” he said.
After a moment of technical difficulties, Marrybrown opened its doors to the president, the press and the public. The President tasted the chain’s first fried chicken burger in the Maldives alongside franchise and government officials, and was given a tour of the facility which includes an air conditioned interior dining and play area and an upper open air veranda.
Families flocked to the restaurant doors for the next few hours, eager to acquire the free fried chicken meals that were being distributed in honor of the occasion. A chipmunk mascot in a signature pair of green overalls welcomed children to the event outside, while groups were let in in stages to avoid crowding.
“The menu for Maldives was specially designed over the last six months by our chefs, and is a combination of Malaysian and Maldivian cuisines,” Co-Founder and Group Management Director Nancy Leiw told Minivan News.
When asked about the health value of the fast food menu, Leiw claimed Marrybrown “delivered all the necessary nutrients.”
“It’s a very balanced diet. Think about a burger. You have your carbohydrates, your protein, the lettuce gives you valuable vitamins and minerals, you have everything you need.”
Burgers are served with tomato and chili sauce packets and soft drinks.
Liew said that the franchise owner is “an ambitious businessman”, and that Marrybrown will be expanding business in the Maldives. “We don’t just serve food, we serve people. We will be providing opportunities in employment, business management, and local development,” she said.
The Marrybrown opening was facilitated by Malaysian staff, who will train Maldivian employees to “pass on our expertise and style of customer service,” said Liew.
The franchise’s nationality bore special connotations for the Maldives. “Malaysia is Muslim, and the Maldives is Muslim. We share a special synergy in Islam,” said Liew. “This synergy will allow us to work together in productive ways to create new opportunities for growth in line with our shared cultural standards.”
Liew noted that Marrybrown is celebrating 30 years of operation this year, and will be holding promotions and fundraising events for local charities and businesses throughout the year.
Marrybrown plans to open several more restaurants in the Maldives in the near future.