In an exclusive interview to HN, Hodema consulting services talks with Fadi Safadi, founder of Al Safadi, a successful F&B concept launched in 1994, in Beirut, Lebanon.
Tell us more about “Al Safadi” restaurant.
I founded Al Safadi in 1994 in Beirut. I already had an experience of 36 years in the Food and Beverage, starting as a professional butcher in the family business. Al Safadi is a casual dining Lebanese restaurant which has developed over the years to become the destination for the daily eat-out and the place for family and friends celebrations
What are the main attributes that differentiate “Al Safadi” from other similar concepts on the local market?
As a founder, I believe that Al Safadi differentiation factors lie in five rules: quality, quantity, hygiene, well studied pricing catering for a wider target market, and last but not least professional service. Al Safadi is also known for its generosity, and its menu variety ranging from a simple Mankoushe to the premium fresh seafood, hence we are a top of mind brand for every meal, business lunch, or weekend gathering.
You currently operate all Al Safadi branches; is this your strategy or do you consider franchising?
We currently operate all our branches, and we are pursuing this strategy in the current expansion plan. We believe that our menu has a large variety, and every recipe is homemade according to specific standards. Thus, it will be difficult to maintain and control Al Safadi’s known consistency if it is not under our direct supervision. We understand that franchising is our only way to truly expand our brand, however we are not considering it for the time being.
What are the main challenges that you are facing during the economic situation on the local and regional levels?
Challenges are always there, and not only on the local market. Volatility is normal in every open market, however dealing with the situation is what makes a good management. To be fair, the market is always blamed for the mistakes done by some investors in the Food and Beverage industry, especially that F&B is becoming a trend for investors without any experience in the field. I believe that the market has still a lot of opportunities in the UAE despite the competitiveness. A proper concept ticking all the points on the checklist will be able to succeed and expand.
What is “Al Safadi” plan for expansion on the short and mid-term basis?
A regional expansion in the GCC in our short-term objective, leveraging on the brand equity of Al Safadi and the quality related to it. For the mid-term, we are looking into the European market. However we will adapt the concept in terms of offering and size according to the place of implementation.
Do you have any future projects?
We are in the process of entering the Saudi market. I believe it is a bit early to make any official announcement.
Prominent Lebanese restaurateur
Founder of Al Safadi