ChicKing Seals Strategic Partnership with FELDA for NATIONAL Expansion

Arab Emirates Originated Franchise!If there is one fast food restaurant that’s going to fight all the way to the last crumb to give customers a better-tasting friedchicken, ChicKing® would surely be it! For a company that started its journey back in the year 2000 with its flagship outlet in United Arab Emirates under the Banquet Foods International banner (as part of the highly-reputed and renowned Dubai-based Al Bayan Group of Companies), ChicKing® has established its footprint internationally within a decade, and is ambitiously embarking to have 100 outlets operational by the end of year 2011. And to expedite its large-scale expansion plans, ChicKing® signed an MOU with FELDA. The MOU was presented recently to ChicKing® in the presence of Honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak. The deal will not only let FELDA operate and franchise ChicKing® Fried Chicken Restaurants throughout Malaysia, but also allow ChicKing® to capitalise on Malaysia’s position as the prime HALAL hub in the Asian region. Franchise Asia spoke to A. K. Mansoor, Chairman of Banquet Foods International (BFI) at the recent FIM 2011 to find out where all this will take ChicKing® to.

With so many fast food service restaurants in the market serving fried chickens, how does ChicKing® plan to compete with the established players?

Our entry into new markets or geographical locations is not to compete with other players. We work entirely on the advantage that we have in this segment, and our expansions are based on the need and wants of the customers. Primarily it’s based on the Taste and Quality of Service that we can offer, and rest follows. ChicKing®targets to stand unique with its HALAL Fried Chicken offering, when it comes to Taste and Quality, world-over. We do acknowledge that there are competitors in the market, some established brands and some new ones. We consider ourselves as a young company with a world class tasty product, immense energy of a young team and a vision to be the best in the world. Our success in the market is not due to size or marketing gimmicks. We are now an established brand purely based on what we offer to our valued customers. We have a Menu that spells variety in taste and feel. And that’s where our success lies.

Our franchisees or partners, as we call them are the cornerstone of our future growth. So our competition with ‘established’ brands is not based on pricing or advertisement spent. Rather, it is simply to follow consistent quality and to be the Chosen Brand of our growing customer base.

ChicKing Franchise Outlet

ChicKing® is said to be serving the tastiest HALAL crumb-fried chicken, using a secret recipe which includes a unique blend of the choicest herbs and spices. So what’s in ChicKing® that makes it so different from other fried chickens?

ChicKing® is synonymous with words such as, “Real Recipe, Real Taste, and Real Fried Chicken”. It’s true that we use a secret recipe of herbs and spices, which result in healthy food eating habits among our customers. So it would be apt for us to say that we bear in mind both, the Taste of our product and Quality vis-àvis health of our customers.

“ChicKing® targets to stand unique with its HALAL Fried Chicken offering when it comes to Taste and Quality, world-over”

The superlative taste comes from the years of wisdom and time tested method of trial and error, a consistent and constant endeavour to better our product. Surely there are herbs that we use in our recipe that drains away oil within a instant after been taken off the fryer. Also our Chicken is cooked after been marinated with the unique ingredients. That would be one or two of the numerous ‘secret’ methods, apart from the treatment of the fresh chicken that we induce to make our product taste better and tastier.

Malaysia was chosen as one of the regional ChicKing® offices. What makes Malaysia a strategic market for your ChicKing®’s expansion plan?

“Malaysia has been on our ‘target grid’ for a pretty long time”

The litmus test for our Malaysia entry was the company-owned ChicKing® outlet in the Tropicana Mall. Over the period of our operation, we realised that we were the most preferred outlet among customers compared to other food chains that operated in that locality, purely going by the foot-fall and enquiries. Having garnered a good repeat customer base, it was only sensible for us to concentrate on Malaysia as a market of growth potential and expansion of our brand, ChicKing®. Also the fact that Malaysia has rich cultural heritage apparent both in its urban and rural life, and is possibly the single largest market for HALAL food products in the Asia region, our decision to be part of this beautiful and welcoming country is a natural extension of our company Mission – To create a unique Brand that has the trust of consumers and stakeholders.

ChicKing® recently signed a joint-venture deal with FELDA. What is the current status on this?

We at Banquet Foods International (BFI) are very excited with the joint-venture that we have just signed with The Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA). This includes a plan to form a joint venture initiative to regionally introduce and grow ChicKing®. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner than FELDA, which has a reputation to reckon within this region. This joint-venture project is a win-win for both FELDA and BFI, as it builds on the vision of FELDA to be one of the country’s major food production centres and for BFI as it offers an unparalelled opportunity to deepen its base within the country. Under this deal, FELDA will be operating and franchising the ChicKing® fried chicken restaurants throughout the region. This milestone is especially significant as Malaysia is the largest HALAL hub in the Asian region, and is a lucrative market.

“We believe that this joint venture with FELDA will result in making ChicKing® a household name and create successful FELDA Entrepreneurs”

What is the expansion plan for BFI for ChicKing® in Malaysia?

Aspirations and growth opportunity in Malaysia for ChicKing® is mammoth. We have had numerous enquiries and interests garnered from many investors over the past few weeks ever since we signed the joint venture with FELDA. Also we have had some enquiries that came to us prior to entering the Malaysian market. We would be pleased to be present in all 13 states and three federal territories and multiply with time. But all that rests with customers and how many outlets they would want us to open!

BFI is focused to achieve over 300 ChicKing® outlets by year 2015. How close is BFI in achieving this?

Our realistic target is to have 100 outlets by end of year 2011. Currently we are very close to that number. Fifteen countries around the world by year end are what we had planned and we are right on track to achieve that as well. We believe 300 outlets are achievable by year 2014, even though we speak about achieving it in the year 2015!

Our idea is not to show increase in number of our outlets. We are a chain that believes growth in number of outlets happens when customers ask for us. And am sure with the acceptance we have in the market, quality and speed with which we are growing, it’s purely a matter of time before ‘number’ of ChicKing® outlets become obsolete and we will be known by streetwise presence across different countries and continents. We are in the process of signing deals with well established chains to be part of our growth graph globally.

BFI has announced that it will be expanding in EU and US markets through franchising by year 2014. What is the progress on this?

Right now our entire energy and concentration is channeled towards establishing our brand in the Middle East, African and Asian market. We have had some very interesting prospects from the EU Region. Definitely we will be making an entry in the EU region by start of Year 2014 and the US market will happen in the following year.

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