Since its inception in 2010, JJ Chicken aims to be the only fast-casual restaurant serving authentic charcoal-grilled, 100% hormone-free, grain-fed, freshly- prepared chicken meals, while offering value for money. They currently operate 11 branches and 1 food truck in the UAE.
JJ Chicken is one of Almed Retail’s multiple brands, a prestigious & dynamic investor & operator in the Middle East. Find out more about the brand from this interview with Saer Imad, Group General Manager for the brand JJ Chicken of Almed Retail Holding.
At Almed Retail, we have an experienced team that knows how to develop & grow brands while preparing them to expand on an international level. Furthermore, we received huge demand from a lot of customers visiting Dubai, trying “JJChicken” and inquiring if we exist abroad and what the possibilities to have the brand expand to their countries.
Based on all that, we believe it is the right time to take this brand to the next level and enter the franchise business by delivering the same product and quality all over the world.
Back in 2010, there was a need in the UAE for a fresh chicken joint, that offered healthy but tasty chicken. And what would deliver better than a juicy tender charcoal-grilled chicken, made-to-order, hormone-free, grain-fed & freshly prepared? That’s how JJ Chicken was born, to deliver on a promise that many were craving for.
The name is a play on words. JJ is short for the Arabic word “Djeje” which means Chicken
The logo is simple yet says a lot. It’s a square with a beak and a crest, representing the shape of the chicken, which is all what JJ is about.
Franchising is a long-term partnership and this is how we look at it; however the financial component is very important in any business partnership and should be feasible for both the partners franchisor and the franchisee. Hence, nowadays a franchisee on average needs 4-5 years to return all the investment injected. In different terms, an ROI is between 20-25% on yearly basis.
The major challenge we faced was during the covid-19 pandemic as it was the first time we face such a situation and how to operate under strict restrictions while providing the best hygiene and sanitized service. Adding to the complexity is running the operation with less staff and how to protect your employees and ensure they are having the best medical assistance if they are infected. Having all this on one side and how to maintain the finances of the company within acceptable survival margins. Facing this situation we created an emergency team where we divided the tasks accordingly and had daily meetings together and with all the outlets. Furthermore, we tried to turn this situation into an opportunity by focusing more on deliveries and showing the customers how safe is to order from us supported by a huge marketing campaign.
I always believed that success and great achievements are an effort done by the whole team where each one contributes to a piece of this puzzle; therefore, my strength always lies in having the right team in place and leading them in the best way possible. We were able to position our brand amongst the top brands with great offerings and an increasing number of loyal customers.
I start my day with a cup of green tea. Then we make sure that operations are running smoothly across all outlets and brands. Later, I check my emails and then have meetings with all the department heads.
The best moment was when we had a complete franchise program ready to invade the world and our trademark and logo are registered worldwide.
“JJ Chicken” has great potential and has a unique offering. Our plans for the next 5 years are so aggressive, especially after the covid-19 recovery. We are looking to have a presence in all GCC countries, Egypt, India, UK, France, USA, Africa, and South East Asia.
Franchising is a long journey where franchisor and franchisee should work in full harmony. The financial structure should be feasible i.e. low CAPEX, decent ROI, healthy EBITDA margin, different stream of revenues, and flexible adaptable model. Most importantly, full support to the franchisee to ensure success as he/she will be your representative that you want to be perfect.
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