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Duck Donuts® Expands International Presence to the United Arab Emirates

Founder and CEO of Duck Donuts Franchising Company, Duck Donuts UAE Franchise Owner Celebrate Grand Opening

MECHANICSBURG, PA (Sept. 10, 2020) – Duck Donuts, known for serving Warm, Delicious and Made-to-Order!® donuts, has continued the brand’s growth with the recent opening of its first location in Dubai, one of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic markets and tourist destination, on Sept. 10. Russ DiGilio, founder and CEO of Duck Donuts Franchising Company (DDFC), Betsy Hamm, COO of DDFC, and Mohammed Albaqami, Duck Donuts UAE Franchise Owner, celebrated with a commemorative official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We are delighted to bring Duck Donuts to the beautiful city of Dubai and expand our brand to a city that demonstrates a strong enjoyment for coffee and sweets,” said DiGilio. “Having a presence in an international hub for tourism such as Dubai, will open up opportunities as we continue to strategically grow and develop the brand in international areas of interest.”

Located at R02A Silverene Tower, in the Dubai Marina near Pier 7, this is the first Duck Donuts store for Gold Peak Coffee Shop LLC, a local establishment focused on providing superior service through the creation of various types of handcrafted coffees and foods. In October 2019, Albaqami signed a master franchise agreement to open five units and begin sub-franchising throughout the United Arab Emirates over the next 10 years. Mr. Albaqami is an alumnus of UNCC’s Belk College of Business and has experience in both the public and government sectors with a concentration in financial counseling and analysis.

“This is a project my team and I have been working on for over a year, and despite all the challenges we have faced as a result of COVID-19, I am beyond excited to introduce the UAE to the Duck Donuts’ made-to-order concept,” said Albaqami. “Pairing fresh and delicious donuts with the unique experience of customizing and watching your donut being made from scratch to finish, is the perfect combination of food and fun for all ages. I am very happy to be bringing the brand 7,000 miles from its origins to offer the UAE a taste of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.”

The 2,200 sq. ft. retail store reflects the franchise’s iconic beach theme and family-friendly atmosphere with limited indoor seating. In addition to donuts, the Dubai location also serves coffee, espresso, donut sundaes, unique OBX Donut Breakfast Sandwich featuring turkey bacon, milkshakes, frozen beverages, select retail items and more.

In Dubai, customers will experience the same made-to-order donut process and availability of coatings, toppings and drizzles, including traditional favorites such as chocolate icing with sprinkles and more adventurous creations such as maple icing with turkey bacon. The stores offer a viewing area where children and adults alike can watch their donuts being made.

To learn more about domestic and international franchise opportunities, visit


Duck Donuts was founded in 2006 by Russ DiGilio in Duck, North Carolina. His intention? To solve a family vacation problem: “Our family wanted a place to buy warm, delicious, made-to-order donuts, and when we couldn’t find one, we decided to start our own.”

By 2011, Duck Donuts had expanded to four Outer Banks locations and the donut business was so successful that DiGilio was continuously approached about franchise opportunities by fans who begged for a Duck Donuts in their community. The first franchise opened in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 2013, and there are now 97 open U.S. franchise locations, one international and more than 145 additional contracts in 26 states and four countries.