Welcome to the ALBAIK History page! Here you will find a Timeline showing how it all started, how we have grown, and how we have become a part of the great community of Saudi citizens and expatriates that we are privileged to serve
The ALBAIK story began in 1974 in the city of Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when the late Shakour AbuGhazalah saw there was a need for high quality affordable food, served fast and courteously, in a clean and inviting environment. Putting all his hard earned savings in this venture, Shakour signed an exclusive agency agreement with a company abroad for usage of proprietary deep-fried chicken spice blends and equipment, being the first in the market to introduce the “broast” chicken concept in all of Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah was expanding north from the old city and Shakour found an ideal location in the brand-new Al Dakheel Building at the crossroads of Al Madinah Road and Palestine Street in Jeddah. He started to build his first restaurant, but had to suspend the project because electric power had not reached the newly built building.
Never one to give up, taking on challenges head on and finding solutions Shakour AbuGhazalah transformed an old warehouse he’d leased on Airport Road in the Sharafiyah District and opened the first Broast Restaurant in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia there in September of 1974.
In March 1976 a second Broast Restaurant finally opened in the Al Dakheel Building – the site originally picked to launch the chain.
Shakour AbuGhazalah’s goal was in sight when, five months later his life was cut short; on August 14th of the year 1976, he lost a battle with cancer at the age of 48.
“We learned everything from our father” said Ihsan AbuGhazalah, Chairman of the Board ALBAIK Food Systems Group of Companies. “His determination, perseverance and hard work have been the inspiration that has driven our success. Everybody loved our father. He was fun to be with and humble… a wonderful man.”
Shakour’s untimely death forced Ihsan, who had just graduated from university, to leave Rami to finish his studies while he returned to Jeddah to save the new venture from closing down.
“With the demise of our father, we lost the agency rights and had to start from scratch. We had to liquidate assets, pay off debts, streamline the business and reduce costs,” said Ihsan. “By the time I took over the business, there were over 400 copycat restaurants serving ‘broast’ chicken in Jeddah alone. We had to find something that would set us apart from the competition and we knew that it had to come down to quality and value.”
When Rami graduated from university, he joined Ihsan in Jeddah in 1982. In the process, the two brothers accomplished something unique. The young engineers re-engineered the business from the ground up.
“We didn’t know about food when we started” Rami explains. “We weren’t restaurateurs, we were engineers.We had to learn the food business from the ground up. I followed the example of our father and got behind the counter, cooked the food, served our customers, cleaned up the premises, everything, while Ihsan went to Paris to study Food Technology. Once we learned the basics, we began to deploy systems that ensure quality and increase efficiency.”
When Ihsan returned, he developed the famous 18 secret herbs and spices recipe and then the two brothers spent the following three hard years, working long hours every evening preparing the secret recipe at an unknown location, and transporting it to the central kitchen for further preparation.
Meanwhile, the restaurants image was upgraded, packaging improved, operations and production systems developed and training the team became the agenda for the day.
The two brothers knew they had to differentiate themselves from the competition further and had to come up with a new brand name and logo. Ihsan and his late wife Laila (Monique) developed the new logo and the family sat after and came up with the ALBAIK brand name. In 1986 the ALBAIK brand was launched.
“Almost immediately customers began flocking to our newly branded & refurbished outlets; ALBAIK became iconic – a restaurant with a difference serving highest quality food, fast and courteous service, sparkling clean restaurants at best value for customers” Says Komo Paravati former Regional Operations Coach (1976 – 2010).
ALBAIK’s extraordinary success in Jeddah set plans in motion to expand and the obvious first step outside Jeddah was the holy city of Makkah Al Mukarama, less than one hour away.
“After searching across the rapidly growing city, we found the perfect location to launch” said Rami. “We built our inaugural outlet on Um Al Qura Street at the entrance to the city.” ALBAIK opened in Makkah Al Mukarama in 1990.
Today there are 6 ALBAIK restaurants serving Makkah Al Mukarrama.
“We listened to our customers,” said Jaber Sowaileh (1978 – 2008), who was Head of Operations at the time. “We took all their suggestions into account and this helped us develop a number of popular new meals across the years – Spicy Chicken, Chicken Fillet Nuggets and Shrimp – that remain on the menu until today.”
By the 1990s ALBAIK had become a renowned homegrown brand that found a place in the heart of the community. Ihsan and Rami genuinely wanted to give something back to the country and the people.
“We owe everything to our customers; they have made ALBAIK the brand it is today,” stated Rami. “Our giving back to the community and corporate social responsibility is our thank you to the communities, neighbors and customers we serve – a thank you in the ALBAIK way.
ALBAIK sponsored the Mad Science Shows hosted by the Jeddah Science and Technology Center and launched The Young Scientist program, the first of its kind corporate social responsibility program hosted by ALBAIK to encourage education in sciences; bringing together the public and private sectors within a framework of educational application within a fun concept touching on environmental awareness. The Young Scientist Competition became the launch pad that initiated a series of unique programs and activities that ALBAIK would implement for the benefit of the community.
In 1998 ALBAIK was invited by the Kingdom’s government to serve the pilgrims at the holy site of Mina during the Hajj season and has been doing so to date. Since then the Hajj operation has been designated as a not-for-profit operation providing the highest quality of food at the best value possible to the pilgrims.
To support this expansion, ALBAIK sister company, AQUAT Food Industries the licensed producer of ALBAIK food requirements, inaugurated a state of the art food processing factory in the year 2000 in the Industrial City in Jeddah. In 2006, AQUAT was awarded ISO 22000:2005 certification for its food safety management systems; becoming the first company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to receive this distinguished recognition.
ALBAIK expanded further geographically in 2001 by opening its 1500 m2 restaurant in Al Madina Al Munawwarah with a seating capacity for 500 customers.
Today there are 3 ALBAIK restaurants serving Al Madina Al Munawwarah.
We introduced ALBAIK Xpress in 2002; a limited menu 50 m2 area concept developed primarily for malls.
Today there are 9 Xpress restaurants in 4 cities.
ALBAIK launches its environmental awareness program with the introduction of two unique cartoon characters Nazeeh & Wartan. Joining the largest global environmental campaigns supported by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) titled, “Clean Up The World”, the two cartoon characters helped spread the word far and wide, urging the masses to care for our beloved environment by not littering and helping keep the nation clean.
ALBAIK kicks off its campaign aiming to raise awareness on food safety tips.
"At ALBAIK we always strive to provide what's best for our customers and the public in general.” Explains Rami.
“The launch of the Five Steps to Protect their Food -- Because Safety Comes First' is a major initiative we adopted in an effort to alert the society on the importance of food safety and proper handling techniques.”
ALBAIK sponsored “Madrasati” - a program initiated by HRH Queen Rania of Jordan focusing on facilitating quality education to kids, providing them with opportunities to work, escape poverty, and live healthily / confidently.
As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, ALBAIK worked with the Friends of Jeddah Parks Organization and the Jeddah municipality to plan the “100 parks in 100 weeks” initiative.
“This park along with its basketball court is the outcome of efforts between the public and private sectors, and I encourage and urge more cooperation from the private sector in all such community-related activities” says Rami.
Built according to international standards, this initiative aims at providing public facilities as a source of entertainment, relaxation as well as sports for the youth.
Joining forces with the Ministry of Education and Khawater, ALBAIK launched the Feena Khair – ‘My School, My Responsibility’ program encouraging elementary grade students to take pride in maintaining a healthy and clean school environment by spending the last 15 minutes of their school day cleaning their classrooms.
The pilot program was primarily held in cooperation with Al Noor Educational Complex and Dar Al Fikr schools. Proving to be a huge success, the program was in turn extended to 52 more schools in 2011.
"The entire region holds a special place within us, like each city in our beloved Kingdom it has its exceptional attributes and the people of Qassim have been extremely welcoming and vocal in their expressions and follow ups with us in coming to the region," says Rami. "We promised you we're coming and here we are, our key element is making sure our services and products will stay constant as our customers always witnessed with us.
Our promise to our customers has always been to provide safe food of highest quality, fast, at affordable prices and in a friendly, comfortable, safe and secure environment and that is something we continuously take to heart".
At ALBAIK we all have one vision that hasn’t changed since we started so many decades ago: to give pleasure and nourishment to our customers through our food and service. When we see the expressions of pleasure from our satisfied customers we feel that we’ve achieved our goals.
All our efforts, our development, creating the perfect recipes, the building of food production facilities, team training, team development, formulating and deploying operational guidelines and protocols, putting our team members on a carefully developed career path, implementing strict and diligent quality assurance levels, taking part in forums and exhibitions to learn and constantly improve, conducting research and studies into the latest technologies and methodologies, always listening to our customers, giving back to the community – everything that we’ve done over the years to reach our current status is rewarded when we hear the exclamations of delight from our customers, the MMMMMs and WOOOWs, when they taste our food and savor the ALBAIK experience.