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Nation's Restaurant News was treated to exclusive access to Herfy, a Saudi Arabia-based quick-service chain with 195 units in the Middle East. This article originally appeared in the Nov. 26 issue of Nation's Restaurant News. Subscribe here.
Herfy plans to open several more restaurants by the end of the year, Bader said.
Abdulraouf M. Mannaa, managing director of Savola Group, which holds a minority investment in Herfy, said, “I think Herfy has a lot of room to grow. We’re very strong in the central region [of Saudi Arabia], and we can grow more in the other regions. We need to focus on the other cities. There is huge room for us to grow, even perhaps into other formats such as family dining.”
Saeed said, “I would like to see us grow our brand beyond the Middle East market, and we are actively exploring this arena for the next five years.” Herfy currently has seven licensed units in Kuwait, four in the United Arab Emirates and one in Bahrain.
Saeed’s son, Khaled Ahmed Hamad Al-Said, who serves as Herfy’s investment director, said the company sees opportunities in franchising outside of Saudi Arabia.
“We believe that great opportunities lie in the franchising and expansion of our trademark and brands all over the world,” he said, adding that the company sees opportunities to expand its real estate investment portfolio.
The company also sees opportunities to use technology to improve operations. For example, given the long lines at drive-thrus, Herfy is considering handheld tablet technology to reduce driver wait times.
The company plans to keep its cost controls as it expands.
“Planning is the key to our success, and we use all of our departments to support that growth,” Saeed said. “We always forecast our costs and have the ability to control our quality and costs by having our own manufacturing facilities. Buying on the futures helps us keep a competitive edge along with our strong balance sheet. Lastly, our training of all our staff means we control costs at the unit level.”
Consultant Brown said Herfy has been careful with its expansion plans.
“There is always pressure to open up new locations,” Brown said, “but Herfy has been disciplined in opening up restaurants when the population shift hasmatched the demand.
“Herfy’s success has been based on a combination of cost structure and experience and competent management and a vertically integrated supply line,” Brown continued. “They have a verystrong consumer franchise.