Shababik; a window onto KSA’s F&B industry

Shababik; a window onto KSA’s F&B industry


A new window onto KSA’s F&B industry

What is ‘Shababik’?

Shababik, a restaurant managed by Richard Farhat, has been operating in Jeddah since May 2014. It serves traditional Lebanese food and welcomes up to 450 guests. It is located on the second level of a boutique mall in a prestigious area with a vast air-conditioned terrace. Over the years, its consistency in terms of food quality and taste combined with professional service attracts a significant number of guests from different nationalities. Despite increasing competition, Shababik still leads the market when it comes to F&B outlets serving Lebanese food in KSA.  Hodema consulting services finds out a little more about this Jeddah eatery.

Shababik’s Managing Director Richard Farhat

What are the specialties served?

Shababik offers a daily breakfast, different flavors of manakish prepared at live stations, fried eggs and foul mdammas including lavish weekend buffets. During lunch and dinner, a Lebanese lady prepares saj bread in front of guests, which is a unique proposition for KSA residents. The ‘connoisseurs’ in Lebanese cuisine usually start by tasting the hummus bi tahina and their feedback has always amazing. As for our kibbeh nayeh, it is fresh and delicious, which is why many guests order it to go as well. Saudis just love BBQ and demand for such meats at our restaurant is a very popular one. Lastly, our winning dessert is ‘ashta bel ashta’ topped with fresh strawberries, bananas and honey.

What can you tell us about the evolution of KSA’s F&B scene?

An important part of the 2030 Vision in KSA is to boost the hospitality industry. This plan has encouraged local, regional and international investors to enter the huge Saudi market, which only few years ago was still in its infancy. However, for the launch of the 2019 Jeddah season, several high-end F&B brands opened for the first time in KSA signaling promising opportunities for other brands. Most restaurants in operation are constantly packed and the average meal value is quite high. Shababik was among the few that got-in early on the action and based on positive feedback, we decided to expand the brand’s offerings to include ‘The Island’ by Shababik, which is a new shisha lounge concept.

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What can you tell us about KSA’s F&B industry in terms of average check, revenue and concepts?

The revenue slowdown in 2017 and during the first half of 2018 was due to various factors which affected the average check and number of visitors new or recurring. With the recent changes in government laws, coupled with social and economic reforms, many Saudis who used to travel on vacation and spend elsewhere, are now enjoying trying out and enjoying new concepts, a trend that has significantly helped in growing the country’s F&B sector.

What is Shababik’s short and mid-term expansion plan?

We are in the process of opening a new outlet in Riyadh, which will offer a new experience to our guests. We are also creating a new sub-brand for Shababik, which will first launch in the Saudi market. Shababik Paris has always been a dream, let us hope it will come true.

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