The idea of sitting down for a meal of fried chicken in Saudi Arabia isn’t one that most people would visualize, yet that’s what thousands of Saudis do every day when they purchase a meal at ALBAIK. The fast food business first opened up in an old warehouse in September 1974, with Shakour AbuGhazalah tapping into a hungry market for the food in Jeddah.
The concept of “broasting” uses an innovative spice blend that includes 18 different herbs in the mix, which helps sets the food apart from the rival that it’s almost always compared to, KFC.
Due to some early struggles that included the death from cancer of AbuGhazalah in 1976, the business came close to falling by the wayside. However, by the mid-1980’s, the idea started garnering fans who enjoyed the fast and efficient service, the cleanliness of the restaurants and, of course, the delicious food.
The first of six restaurants in Makkah Al Mukarrama opened up in 1990, with a few other cities also seeing openings over the next decade or two. In 2002, the first Xpress version of the restaurant opened up, which was specifically designed with malls in mind.
The chain has 51 outlets across the country, though the concept’s popularity is seen in the fact that over 400 unaffiliated restaurants used the idea of broasting to make their own attempt at cashing in. Some of these are located as far away as the United States.
The recipe itself, which uses chickens imported from Brazil, is not for the diet-conscious individual. That’s due to the fact that one regular meal contains a total of 1,142 calories. There are no restaurants in Riyadh, which results in some fans actually paying others to travel to the closest restaurant to have it delivered.