Al Baik is the biggest broast chicken food chain in Saudi Arabia. It is a home grown, fried chicken fast food chain. Their unique way of broasting their chicken and its distinct taste is the reason they have a long line of customers every day. Let me rephrase my earlier statement, it is the biggest chain in Western Saudi Arabia, mainly in Jeddah. Like many Saudis who have been to Jeddah, I was curious to find out why one of the best fast food chains was not growing. There had been many requests on social forums and blogs for the fast food chain to open in other cities in the Kingdom. So after a quick search on the internet, although there were no definite facts, I was able to find out a few possible rumors, for their limited growth. None of whom, lead to a conspiracy by the Saudi government.
Wikipedia page of Albaik claims that the Saudi government has stopped them for growing, by restricting the cities in which they can operate. Now why would the Saudi government do that? Here are a few rumors as to why the fast food chain has not grown;
- There is a rumor that they do not have a license to operate in Riyadh because the government stopped issuing Al Baik licenses to open branches in any other city but Jeddah, Makkah and Madina. The reason given behind this rumor is that the Saudi government has extremely strict rules for issuing licenses in other cities, but not in these cities where Al Baik outlets can be found. Well, I do not think there can be any reality in this rumor.
- Some rumors claim that there is some individual/company who does not want Al Baik to open in the Central and Eastern regions, and they have used their connections to have Al Baik kept out of the area. There is also a rumor that a certain businessman, who owns the fast food chain franchise in the Central and Eastern regions of the Kingdom, and does not allow competitors in Al-Khobar or Riyadh. But again, this is just a rumor. We cannot say anything about it with reasonable surety.
- There is also hearsay of a dispute between two business men. One man was from Jeddah and the other one from Riyadh. There is also the story that the owner’s brother wanted to buy the rights for Al Baik in Riyadh, but the original owner who started the business in Jeddah, denied his business proposal.
- These few rumors and hearsays as to why Al Baik has been restricted to expand in Saudi Arabia can’t be proven until the time that an official statement is issued. Expatriates from various nationalities, who love Al Baik chicken, will still bring it with them from Jeddah whatever the reason may be for the limitations. However if you are craving that perfectly cooked crispy broast, then you can always go to Jeddah to indulge in the best broasted chicken around. Al Baik can also do better for their customers by focusing on expanding, rather than blaming others on their Wikipedia page.
- Recently, it is confirmed that Albaik is opening up its branch in Jizan as you can see in the below picture.
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