Al Baik only in Jeddah

Al Baik is the main broasted chicken food chain in Saudi Arabia. Or should I say in Western Saudi Arabia primarily in Jeddah. “The Saudi government have stopped attempts for this very successful fast food chain to grow by limiting what regions of the country it can expand too.” This is what Wikipedia has written on their website. Why is that? This prompted me to Google search the reason because I’ve heard this so many times during my stay in Jeddah for two years, and I never knew why.

Al Baik is a home-grown fast food restaurant that serves fried chicken cooked in a distinct way of broasting. There is a unique taste in the chicken of Al Baik, that is why many Saudis and other expats alike are nuts about this. You can see Saudi men in their thobes hurrying to get in line as soon as the store opens after the last evening prayers.

In spite of its success in Jeddah, there is still no single Al Baik store in Riyadh. Many are requesting in forums and blogs, but there is really no definite proof why Al Baik is limited to Western Region only. Here are some of hearsays or rumours about it:

No license to operate in Riyadh. There is a notion that the government stopped issuing license for Al Baik. This might be true because the government has very strict rules regarding issuing of license but not in Jeddah where Al Baik stores are in every corner of the streets. It is also worth to mention that Al Baik have stores in Madinah and Mecca.

Competition not allowed. Someone inhibits the establishment of Al Baik in Central and Eastern Region. Some believes that a business person in Eastern or Central region who owns the KFC does not allow a competitor in Riyadh and Al Khobar.

No rights to sell. Two business people have misunderstanding: One in Jeddah and one in Riyadh. There is another story that the brother of the owner in Al Baik Jeddah wanted to buy the rights to sell Al Baik in Riyadh, but the person who started it in Jeddah denied the business proposal.

These three hearsays why Al Baik is limited to expand n Saudi Arabia can’t be proven until such time an official statement is issued. Filipinos and other expatriates in Riyadh or in Dammam will still bring their Al Baik from Jeddah no matter what the reason is. Anyway, you can always go to Jeddah to eat Al Baik Chicken.