How Albaik Broast Chicken found it’s way into Kenya
When Abdul Haji got the chance to venture into business, he knew he had to put his skills to the test. He had just graduated from Middlesex University Dubai in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
And so Albaik Broast Chicken Kenya was born in 2012. The idea of bringing the fast food franchise to Kenya and Africa was conceived when Mr Haji and his father were in Egypt.
“Albaik is a food company that mainly specializes in fast foods. They exist in different parts of the world with their headquarters in Egypt. My father and I signed the contract that enabled as to become one of their very first franchises in Africa,” recalls Mr Haji.
Their first destination was Mombasa which apart from being their home was also as an ideal location to set up business.
But for a start, the machinery had to be shipped from Dubai while the spices and ingredients had to be imported from America as per the contract.
“The response in Mombasa was overwhelming. It was expected though because our food is Halal and most people who have been on pilgrimage have sampled the Albaik products which are popular in the Arabic countries,” says the 26 year old.
The franchise boasts of being different from other fast food joints in the country. The chicken at Albaik has to undergo a marination process for half an hour for complete penetration of the spices. The chicken is then double breaded to make it crunchy before being cooked for 11 minutes and 30 seconds.
The brand has now expanded to Nairobi with a shop at Korna House and plans are underway for the opening of another branch in Mombasa.
However, bringing in a new concept always has its challenges. The proprietors had to bring in experts from Egypt to train the locals on how to operate the equipment plus preparation of the food for a period of one month.
“It was not easy at the beginning. We were using a lot of money with no assurance that we would get it back. From the franchise fee, to buying and importation of equipment, importation of the ingredients, bringing in the experts and getting a place for the restaurant and renovating it. It amounted to roughly 1 million dollars,” Mr Haji said.
To cut down on costs, importation of condiments is done in bulk and taken to the company’s central processing plant in Mombasa. There all the necessary mixing of the condiments is done before they are shipped to respective outlets within.
The Mombasa branch is now headed by Mr Haji’s sister, Ms Muna Haji, while he operates the new Nairobi branch.
The growing franchise offers free delivery of products at affordable prices and different packages as per the client’s preference.
“We also have special food for children, where we package their food with toys inside, so every child goes home with whatever toy he or she finds after enjoying the meal. This makes the children look forward to coming back to Albaik,” said Muna, a Business and Strategic Management masters degree holder from KeMu University.
According to Ms Muna, choice of location, target market, righting staff and quality products have all been key to the businesses success.
“Most importantly looking after the staff is very critical because they are the ones who are in direct contact with the client. They can either make or destroy you,” she says.