Why did you choose the Food and Beverage industry for your new venture?
One of the driving forces of our business group is developing business opportunities. We are here to make profits but with something sustainable and in line with our quality and ethical standards.
Now, the food business serves a greater good and provides people with a service they appreciate. Food has a certain quality standard and if you pick the right quality partners, you have succeeded in achieving that quality.
We also wanted to diversify our portfolio and the food business seemed to be a potentially profitable and sustainable one.
Can you tell us more about Costa Coffee and Al Zayani partnership?
We never found the right opportunity to deal with the food franchising business. We wanted something with credibility so that we could develop on it. When the Costa opportunity came, it was available as a master franchise for different territories. We chose to bid only for the Bahrain area because we wanted a global brand which is among the top three brands. At the same time, we wanted something that could be scaled up, teach us the business, and give us a head start. Costa seemed right, so we bid for it and were recognized by Costa.
Why do you think Costa Coffee will be a good introduction for Al Zayani Foods?
Why Costa? Costa is a global brand which is a good way to enter this competitive market.
With some degree of success from the beginning because of the established brand, it is not something we will spend lots of time and go nowhere.
Then there is passion. On a personal level, I’m a coffee passionate person. Here, nobody does anything which they are not passionate about. This is why you see us diversifying the managing directorship of this company.
There are already so many coffee brands in the market. How are you going to position yourself among them?
There are lots of things that sets us apart. Firstly, our baristas have undergone around 8-10 hours of training every day for 2 months even before we opened Costa so that they could get the consistency right.
The second thing that distinguishes us is our food offer. We have tied up with the best to provide back of the house food offering. Our goal is quality and value first, and profits second.
The final area of distinction is, we believe so much in a Bahraini-driven business with Bahrainis running it at the ground level and the highest levels. We are first and foremost here to serve the local need and nothing serves the local need like a local person.
Why do we think we will succeed? Because our core product is excellent and we are sure that you’ll no longer struggle to find quality coffee.
What are your future plans with Al Zayani Foods?
As for Zayani Foods, we have already acquired a management stake in the regionally acclaimed Al Rifai nuts and confections brand and we intend to develop the business opportunity to its fullest potential. We want to cover as much as we can in the food sector with different brands but that is supposed to happen in time. We are very keen to get something that will add value and which does not conflict with our existing portfolio.
With the existing brands, we are planning to expand organically in Bahrain over the next 2 years. We started with one store, but you will see four other stores coming up in the next 2 months.
Is there anything new coming in from Al Zayani investments?
At Zayani Investments, we are always eyeing on what’s happening in the future so that we can stay ahead of the requirements. With other industries, the focus is definitely on what’s relevant to the region. But, we also have plans for internationalizing our portfolio. Today, if you are not a global player, you are walking the line of extinction.