A collaborative research project between New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum



Information last updated on 25 July 2023



Family Name:

Abu Ghazalah [1]

Founder’s Name:

Shakour Abu Ghazalah [2] 

Earliest Documented Business Name:

Broast Restaurant [3]

Founding Year:

1974 [4]

Founding Location:

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Current Operating Status:


Family Business Name:


Headquarters Location:

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia [5]

Key Industries:

Food Industry

Number of Employees:

5001-10000 Employees [6]

About the Founder and Founding Story


Shakour Abu Ghazalah was born in 1928 in the city of Ramleh, Palestine.[7] In 1948, he was forcefully expelled from his home amid the Lydda and Ramle operations against the Arab residents of the city during the nakba.[8] Subsequently, he moved to Saudi Arabia. In 1949, he started a career with Aramco and worked in the kingdom for the next 15 years. During that time, he obtained Saudi nationality, aided by his unofficial refugee status like that of many Palestinians in the KSA.[9]


In 1963, to provide a better living for his family, Shakour and his wife temporarily moved to Lebanon, where he undertook a series of entrepreneurial endeavors.[10] By 1965, he had built a modest fortune, but faced a significant setback as the bank where he kept his money went bankrupt, leading to the loss of his savings.[11] Continuing down the entrepreneurial route back in Saudi Arabia, Shakour observed the absence of fast food establishments and opened a small fast food restaurant with the support of his wife.[12] He signed an exclusive agency agreement with the French company Broasted, allowing him to use their special spice blends and equipment for fried chicken.


Following the oil boom, Shakour anticipated that Jeddah would be a prime location for his growing business as the demand for food and beverages services there was sure to increase.[13] At first, he faced challenges when the electricity supply didn’t reach his planned location for the first restaurant. He thus transformed an old warehouse on Airport Road in the Sharafiyah District into Jeddah’s first broasted chicken restaurant. Officially opening in September 1974, it marked the beginning of his fast-food industry venture under the name Broast.[14]

Growth Phase 


Two years later, Shakour opened a second branch of Broast in Jeddah’s Al Dakheel Building, where he had originally sought to launch the chain. In 1976, Shakour was diagnosed with cancer and passed away at the age of 48.[15] After his death, his two sons, Ihsan and Rami, took over the restaurants.[16]


Following Shakour’s passing, the business lost its agency rights and had to start over. Shakhour’s eldest son Ihsan had just graduated with a degree in civil engineering from King Fahad University in Dhahran, with the intention of pursuing a career in the field. He was also a successful basketball player, and had a professional basketball job offer lined up.[17] He chose, however, to return to Jeddah to save the family business from shutting down.[18] He and Rami, in their early 20s, were faced with having to pay back a bank debt of 7 million Saudi riyals.[19]


The two brothers sold off assets and eventually managed to pay the debt. Ihsan took over the business, making operations more efficient and reducing costs. By the time he took charge, the fast food landscape in Jeddah had transformed and become highly competitive, with 400 such establishments around the city. The brothers understood that they needed to focus on offering better quality and create a standout recipe.[20]


In the early 1980s, Rami Abu Ghazaleh graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a civil engineering degree.[21] He immediately returned to Jeddah and joined the business. Trained as engineers, the two brothers began with little knowledge of the food industry, which they had to pick up from scratch. Rami took on various tasks such as cooking, serving customers, and cleaning. Ihsan, meanwhile, went to Paris to study food technology. In 1984, after his return from France, he formulated the business’s now famous recipe of 18 secret herbs and spices. The two brothers spent the following three years dedicating long hours every evening preparing the secret recipe at an undisclosed location, and transporting it to the central kitchen for preparation.[22]


To further stand out from their competitors, Ihsan, along with his late wife Laila (Monique), designed a new logo for the business, and the family gathered together to brainstorm ideas for a new name.[23] They ultimately landed on ALBAIK, a Turkish word referring to an important person, similar to “sir” or “pasha.”[24] In 1986, the ALBAIK brand was officially launched.[25]


Throughout the following decade, the business steadily expanded, serving pilgrims at the holy site of Mina during the Hajj season beginning in 1988 and opening its first outlet in Mecca in 1990.[26] In 2001, ALBAIK launched a new restaurant in Al Madina Al-Munawwarah.[27] Building on its success in Saudi Arabia, the company began to establish a presence in other Gulf countries, opening two branches in Bahrain in 2020, and in June 2021, their first branch in the United Arab Emirates.[28]



Today, ALBAIK is under the management of the founder’s sons, with Ihsan serving as chairman of the board of the ALBAIK food systems group of companies, and Rami assuming the role of CEO.[29] Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ALBAIK has over 120 branches, predominantly located within the KSA. These include more than 40 branches in Jeddah, 10 in Mecca, and eight in Medina.[30] The company has further expanded its reach with branches in other Gulf countries such as the UAE and Bahrain.[31]


Photo Credit: Shakour Abu Ghazalah. Image credit: AlBaik. Source: AlBaik

[1] “ثروة رامي أبو غزالة من القعر إلى القمة.” Arrajol, 30 August 2022, https://www.arrajol.com/content/138151/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%AD/%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88-%D8%BA%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%B9%D8%B1-%D8%A5%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[2] Ibid.

[3]  “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK, https://www.albaik.com/en/section/albaik-talk/how-we-started. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[4] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

[5] “ALBAIK FAST FOOD RESTAURANT CHAIN.” Albaik.info, https://albaik.info/. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[6] “Working at Al Baik.” Glassdoor, 16 January 2022, https://www.glassdoor.com/Overview/Working-at-Al-Baik-EI_IE579171.11,18.htm. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[7] “قصة نجاح رامي أبو غزالة صاحب سلسلة مطاعم البيك.” Annajah, 30 August 2022, https://www.annajah.net/%D9%82%D8%B5%D8%A9-%D9%86%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%AD-%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A-%D8%A3%D8%A8%D9%88-%D8%BA%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%A8-%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[8] Ahmed, Syed Faraz. “Leadership Development | AlBaik Success Story by Eng. Rami Abu Ghazalah, CEO, AlBaik, KSA.” YouTube, 12 June 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs-yxgrAL7A. Accessed 26 July 2023.

“Operation Dani and the Palestinian Exodus from Lydda and Ramle in 1948.” Middle East Journal, vol. 40, no. 1, 1986, pp. 82-109. Jstor, https://www.jstor.org/stable/4327250. Accessed 26 July 2023.

[9] Shiblak, Abbas. ““Residency Status and Civil Rights of Palestinian Refugees in Arab Countries.”” Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 25, no. 3, 1996, pp. 36-45. Jstor, https://doi.org/10.2307/2538257. Accessed 26 July 2023.

[10] Ahmed, Syed Faraz. “Leadership Development | AlBaik Success Story by Eng. Rami Abu Ghazalah, CEO, AlBaik, KSA.” YouTube.

[11] “Rami Abu Ghazaleh ALBAIK GRLC Speech Dubai 2017.” YouTube, 10 April 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCGtxU62PMs. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[12] Ibid.

“ثروة رامي أبو غزالة من القعر إلى القمة.” Arrajol.

[13] Ahmed, Syed Faraz. “Leadership Development | AlBaik Success Story by Eng. Rami Abu Ghazalah, CEO, AlBaik, KSA.” YouTube.

[14] “ثروة رامي أبو غزالة من القعر إلى القمة.” Arrajol.

[15] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

[16] Mehio, Reem. “A walk through the mouthwatering journey of Saudi Arabia’s Al Baik.” Step Feed, 2 March 2020, https://stepfeed.com/a-walk-through-the-mouthwatering-journey-of-saudi-arabia-s-al-baik-5893. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[17] “Ehsan Shakoor Mohamed AbuGhazaleh.” Dhow Net, https://dhow.com/biographies/221/ehsan-shakoor-mohamed-abughazaleh/. Accessed 25 July 2023.

[18] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

[19] “Rami Abu Ghazaleh ALBAIK GRLC Speech Dubai 2017.” YouTube.

[20] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

[21] “Rami Abu Ghazaleh.” All 4 Palestine | Model Role Details, http://www.all4palestine.com/ModelDetails.aspx?gid=8&mid=3108&lang=en. Accessed 25 July 2023.

[22] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “AlBaik: A Daring Palestinian Venture.” بوابة اقتصاد فلسطين, 18 August 2015, https://www.palestineeconomy.ps/en/Article/87/AlBaik-A-Daring-Palestinian-Venture. Accessed 25 July 2023.

“Why was the company called by the brand name ALBAIK and what does it mean?” ALBAIK, https://www.albaik.com/en/faq/albaik-talk/your-questions-answered/why-was-the-company-called-by-the-brand-name-albaik-and-what-does-it-mean-1.html. Accessed 25 July 2023.

[25] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] “Al-Baik.” Arab News, 25 November 2021, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1974716/al-baik. Accessed 23 July 2023.

Zaki, Yousra. “ALBAIK to open five mobile restaurants in Qatar for World Cup.” Caterer Middle East, 26 October 2022, https://www.caterermiddleeast.com/qatar-world-cup/albaik-mobile-restaurants-qatar. Accessed 23 July 2023.

[29] “ALBAIK Story.” ALBAIK.

“Albaik | Strategic vision to create more jobs for Saudis.” ALBAIK, https://www.albaik.com/en/news/albaik-talk/latest-news/strategic-vision-to-create-more-jobs-for-saudis.html. Accessed 23 July 2023.


“Al-Baik.” Arab News.

[31] Zaki, Yousra. “ALBAIK to open five mobile restaurants in Qatar for World Cup.”

“Al-Baik.” Arab News.

To cite this article please use:

“AlBaik” Family Business Histories Research Project, New York University Abu Dhabi and Tharawat Family Business Forum, 29 Jan. 2024, familybusinesshistories.org/spotlights/albaik