5 QUESTIONS TO MOHSEN MOUSA ADEEB, CEO OF SHAMEL FOOD COMPANY, KSA
1. Can you give us an overview of your company’s F&B division? Shamel Food Company opened its first Subway in 1993 in Riyadh. Subway-ksa is part of Subway Middle East and Africa, with regional headquarters in Lebanon, operating alongside global headquarters in Connecticut, USA. Currently, Subway has more than 600 shops across 15 countries in the Middle East and Africa region. From these, more than 135 outlets are located in Saudi Arabia, positioned in key strategic cities across the Kingdom. Twenty-nine of them are projects for SFC, with the remainder owned by sub-franchisees.
2. In terms of development, what obstacles did you come across and how did you overcome them? The Subway brand’s path to success in the Kingdom has not been easy at all, with hard work required and challenges encountered along the way. The opening of the first restaurant was, in fact, a struggle for survival for more than seven years. There was no suitable or reliable supplier in KSA that can produce meat products as per Subway standard specifications, and halal. We finally signed a contract with Premier Factories in KSA to manufacture and supply our requested halal foodstuff; and we received the approval of Subway International. This was in mid-2001, when restaurants numbers totalled just two in Riyadh.
3. Can you discuss your franchise model? Subway relies exclusively on franchising, which means that you have owneroperators who pay a certain amount to Subway to license the brand’s name and business methods. What makes Subway unique compared to other fast-food restaurants is that a Subway has more flexibility in terms of location. This is because, unlike other fast-food restaurants, there's no real cooking involved, so there's no need for a full-sized kitchen. All of the food that Subway serves is precooked, so it's really a matter of reheating the food. The only real sources of heat needed are a microwave, a toaster oven, and an oven/ proofer in order to bake the bread. Since we don't need that much space, we can fit in many locations that wouldn’t be able to accommodate a full-sized restaurant.
4. Do you have “all the right ingredients” in your Subway expansion model? Having now opened more than 135 branches and with a target of increasing this number to 200 branches by 2020, we are acutely aware of the huge responsibility that we have undertaken. We also fully understand that we are about to enter a new phase of Subway restaurants, since we have become one of the leading fast-food restaurants in the Kingdom. In addition to our commitment to providing fresh, highquality, value meals, we must also show full responsibility towards the Saudi community. As we have always done, we shall continue supporting government and civilian agencies in their awareness campaigns, especially those addressing the younger generations in schools, universities and institutes. Our successes and efforts have paid off in the form of several awards from government and civilian agencies in the Kingdom, most importantly, the ‘Health Food Ambassador’ award, granted to us by the Saudi Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
In addition to our commitment to providing fresh, high-quality, value meals, we must also show full responsibility towards the Saudi community
5. Where are you in terms of your growth strategy? We are currently at a strategic growth stage, characterized by regional alliances with our agents in the Middle East, particularly in GCC countries. Our goal is to actively expand throughout KSA, developing a reliable regional supply chain for providing foodstuff and transporting this reliable foodstuff to Subway restaurants all over KSA.