“Teamwork is the most crucial aspect in any operation”
Five years ago, Mubarak Jaffar had a vision. With the Food and Beverage sector in Kuwait already bloated with franchise operations, he wanted to expand the family business and focus on a local concept which would put the customer first.
Kuwait London Company now has four brands and five concepts, all developed with the intention of meeting customer tastes and expectations.
Working on a ‘think local, think big’ basis, KLC is now poised to become the largest group of local delivery concepts in Kuwait; and their network is growing every day.
1. Hi, please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Kuwait London Company. The company is mainly F&B focused and we operate 5 local concepts with 13 outlets in Kuwait – The Kitchen, Junkyard, Humble Burgers, Proper Sliders and Chubby Balls.
2. Tell us about your education:
I graduated with a degree in Management from Royal Holloway University of London in 2011. At the time I was planning on working straight after university but decided to continue my studies. I obtained a Master’s degree in Management in the MENA Region from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in 2012.
3. What has your journey been like up to this point and how did you get to where you are today?
It has been an extremely exciting journey. The company was originally set up in 2008 by my brother Mohammed for the family. He set up the first restaurant in the company ‘The Kitchen’ in 2009. In 2010 we acquired Talabat and my brother mainly focused on developing Talabat in Kuwait and across the GCC. That really opened our eyes to the online delivery business. In 2012, we had opened a second outlet for The Kitchen that wasn’t performing well and Mohammed wanted to shut it down. I proposed to him we change the concept into an American street food joint called ‘Junkyard’. At the time, I didn’t feel I had enough experience to venture into the restaurant business but once I made my decision to take this responsibility on I had to be committed. I was always interested in the food business but I didn’t realize how complicated running a restaurant business was. Once Junkyard was finally set up and was performing well that really gave me the confidence to continue in this industry and take KLC forward in the food business.
4. Why did you decide to develop your own local concepts instead of franchising?
When we set up the company the number of local concepts was few and people were mainly focused on franchising brands. This was more expensive and franchises usually have certain demands which must be met. We also wanted to have full control over the brand and felt that if we focused on developing our own brands we would be able to meet consumer tastes and expectations better and would be more flexible to change and innovate in the local market.
The Kitchen was set up in 2009 and was the first restaurant under the group. We then set up Junkyard, a street food concept in 2012. Humble Burgers followed in 2014 and in 2015 we set up Proper Sliders. In 2017 we decided to create a dessert concept that mainly focused on Chubby Balls a popular dessert dish which we sold in all our outlets.
5. Describe your vision for KLC:
We are constantly striving to offer customers value in all our restaurants. Our main objective is to offer our customers quality, reasonably priced food conveniently delivered to their doorsteps. The delivery market is extremely competitive and customers are always looking for good quality options that are priced sensibly.
6. What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
The most challenging project was definitely setting up my first restaurant. Entering this industry with very little experience was always going to be difficult. However, with time, Himdillah, things began to make more sense and everything came together.
7. How do you select or decide on the area and location for your restaurants?
As we are essentially a delivery-based business our locations are selected in areas that have easy access. We try and locate ourselves in locations away from main highways and busy roads. This way we are able to deliver to customers on time and avoid unexpected delays.
8. We all know service is key. How do you motivate your staff to keep a constant service ethic?
Teamwork is the most crucial aspect in any operation. We try our best to create a positive culture and incorporate all team members as much as possible. Company activities and functions are really important. Proper training is also essential in maintaining good service and a positive workforce.
9. What continues to motivate or inspire you in this industry?
It’s an extremely competitive industry that is always changing. Peoples’ tastes and behaviors are always changing with time. Keeping up to date creating new dishes and developing the brands with the team is something I really enjoy. Customer feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, really motivates me to improve and drive the business forward.
10. Do any of the concepts offer breakfast?
We only serve breakfast at Junkyard Al-Hamra at the moment. We are working on a breakfast concept which will hopefully be launched very soon.
11. What’s your secret to keep customers coming in?
We try our best to maintain our standards and promise to deliver good quality food, that’s reasonably priced and delivered hot to customers within 45 minutes.
12. Tell our readers more about your catering service. Is there is a minimum number requirement?
We ventured into home and event catering last year after receiving many requests from our loyal customers that we were not able to fulfil. You can contact our catering hotline, drop us an email or book your catering event online through Bilbayt. When it comes to the size of the order it really depends on availability and the location of the event.
13. Do you have plans to open more restaurants in the future?
Currently we are working on opening several more outlets in Kuwait this year, Inshallah.
14. As an employer, what kind of qualities, experience and training do you look for in new recruits?
Generally, we tend to always look for people who are honest, hard working, believe in what we are trying to do and are committed to their jobs. In terms of experience and training it really depends on the type of job and the person we are hiring.
15. For the years to come, what do you want KLC to be known for?
We are trying our best to be one of the leading home-grown delivery groups in Kuwait. By focusing on meeting our goals we can hopefully continue to improve our business and continue to grow our network of restaurants in Kuwait and hopefully the GCC.