Seeking Saudi success
Naif Alrajhi weighs in on the promising future of KSA's food scene
Huge international brands are making their ﬁrst moves into the country, while the home-grown scene is more vibrant than ever. That’s why Naif Alrajhi Investment has chosen to expand its F&B portfolio in 2020. Naif Saleh Alrajhi, chairman and chief executive ofﬁcer, tells Hotelier Middle East more.
Tell us about the brands you are bringing to Saudi Arabia?
We are introducing four concepts at once: Clap, the Japanese ﬁne-dining restaurant, Iris Café, a lounge well-known for its distinctive vibes and ambiance, Brute, a new joint project for meat connoisseurs that will be established by Zeev Godik, the founder of the world-renowned high-end Argentinian steak restaurants Gaucho, in addition to Jones the Grocer, the Australian specialty gourmet food retailer and award-winning café.
We have established a hospitality management subsidiary company Grey Fox that will be in charge of the management and operations of the high-end F&B portfolio of the company.
What are you doing to ensure you ﬁnd success in the Saudi market?
We seek opportunities, and we see today the change happening in the Kingdom: the hospitality sector is booming, tourism is increasing, and the Saudi consumers’ expectations are becoming more complex and reﬁned, pushing the bar high in terms of expectations. We walk into this industry armed with our expert knowledge of the market, and with brands we know will resonate with the Saudi public and providing, in addition to the quality food, holistic dining experiences.
What have you learned about the Saudi food scene from your current brands and how that has affected your choice of brands to bring in?
From having a number of mid-tier restaurants in the Saudi market, we noticed that while they were successful, there was an increasing demand from consumers for quality and unique concepts. The population is young, exposed and have an appetite for more upscale cuisine.
We believe that the brands we are bringing in will satisfy the appetite of a market which is more educated on F&B now than ever before.
What does the future of Naif Alrahji Investment look like in Saudi?
We walk the walk when it comes to “business diversity” and seeking opportunities. We will continue solidifying our current investments and expanding into new industries and sectors in the country.