Hospitality News Middle East - - NEWS -

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.

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