How Saudi’s Al-Baik Restaurant Became a Global Brand, Thanks to Its ‘Broasted’ Chicken

How Saudi’s Al-Baik Restaurant Became a Global Brand, Thanks to Its ‘Broasted’ Chicken
Cover Image Source: Al-Baik | Instagram | @albaik

If you haven't had the chance to visit Saudi Arabia, you might not fully understand the hype for Al-Baik among the locals. Originating in Jeddah, Al-Baik specializes in broasted chicken complemented by a delectable variety of sauces. The culinary offerings at this establishment have garnered such fervent admiration that individuals from various countries, upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, eagerly await the opportunity to savor the meals featured on the menu. With a workforce of 800 employees operating for over 18 hours daily, Al-Baik remains committed to serving the nation's favorite chicken nugget meal.

Al-Baik promoting its Dubai outlet with a long queue waiting to taste the palatable meals| Instagram| @albaik
Al-Baik promoting its Dubai outlet | Instagram | @albaik

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Al-Baik started in 1974 when the late Shakour Abu Ghazalah recognized the demand for fast, affordable, and high-quality food in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Motivated to address this need, he used his savings to secure an agreement with an international company, pioneering the introduction of the delectable 'broast' chicken concept to the Saudi Arabian market. Hunting for the best location, Shakour chose to establish the first broast chicken restaurant in the Sharafiyah District on the old airport road in Jeddah, amid the city's expansion.

Subsequently, in 1976, the Palestinian-Saudi entrepreneur opened a second outlet in the Al-Dakheel building, marking the initiation of the food chain that swiftly became a culinary staple and currently stands as Saudi Arabia's most frequented food outlet. The restaurant strategically aimed to establish its name by diversifying its business model through export and trading. He expanded through franchising and licensing, promising impressive returns, given the formidable reputation that the Al-Baik brand had garnered. Furthermore, the establishment of outlets in Mecca, Medina, Qassim, and Jeddah, proved highly successful as patrons began to refer to Al-Baik's chicken as a 'God's Gift,' particularly surging in popularity during Hajj times.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by ALBAIK® Food Systems Company (@albaik)


 

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Conceptualized and established by the late Shakour AbuGhazalah, Al-Baik is now operated and handled by Syed Bilal Ahmad who is the owner and founder of the food chain. Being headquartered in Jeddah, the restaurant has 40 branches in the city, with outlets in Mecca, Madinah, Al Kharj, Jabal Omar, Buradyah, Taif, Yanbu, Al-Jubail, Riyadh, and others. From zinger chicken burgers and sandwiches to crispy fried chicken shrimp meals and broast chicken fries, the restaurant has a wide range of finger-licking options which customers can choose from. 

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The Finger-licking Al-Baik chicken meal| Image Credits: www.albaik.com
The finger-licking Al-Baik chicken meal | www.albaik.com

Broasted chicken, distinct from the usual deep-fried or chicken popcorn varieties, undergoes a unique preparation method. Submerged in a thick marinade and pressure-cooked to preserve flavors and juices, the meat remains exceptionally soft, almost melting in the mouth. Al-Baik's broasted chicken, hailed by patrons from different regions, stands unparalleled, with no competitor replicating their mastery. The sauce's delectable composition also remains a closely guarded secret. 



 

While Al Baik's menu itself may not be the spotlight, it's the chicken that steals the show. What sets it apart? As attested by customers and travelers specifically flying to Saudi Arabia for a taste, the distinctive 'toum' garlic sauce and the chicken's perfect balance of crispy exterior and juicy tenderness on the inside are the defining features. Saudis themselves go to great lengths to savor Al-Baik's chicken, including taking home frozen supplies of Al-Baik's broasted chicken.

Before the era of delivery apps, Riyadh cab drivers engaged in 'chicken runs' to Jeddah, loading their back seats with fried chicken to sell on the return journey. The demand is so substantial that Alliya Tsabita, an Indonesian shopper, recognized an opportunity to rid the homesickness felt by Muslim individuals unable to access Al-Baik's delectable meals. Negotiating a profit-sharing deal with a flight attendant, she now operates as a businesswoman on Instagram, facilitating the delivery of Al-Baik orders within five to seven days.

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