Dreaming It Big!

Dreaming It Big!

Box It, Bahrain’s Best Franchise Brand, Goes Places!

Awarded as Best Bahrain Franchisee Brand of the Year 2018, the fast growing restaurant chain is about to compete at the World’s Best Franchisee Award competition in Madrid, early next year. B.I.G speaks to Hadi Dawani, the founder and owner of Box It.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Hadi Dawani, the Founder and Owner of Box It chain of restaurants. I was born and raised in Bahrain. Hailing from an entrepreneurial family, known as the founders of the Aljazira Group in Bahrain, food entrepreneurship has been in my blood. I have lived in multiple cities  (London, St Louis, Miami, Dubai, etc) and dream to take my food business enterprises to newer heights across the globe.

When was Box It founded and what was the vision or objective behind it?

Box It was founded in November 2013. The primary objective behind starting up Box It was to give Bahrain a unique fast-casual concept of serving fresh food in a fast and convenient manner which appeals to a busy, in-a -hurry customer-base that ranges from individuals, corporates to families.

Tell us a bit about Box It and what makes it a unique fast-casual option?

A unique, fresh, fast-casual concept restaurant, Box It has the innovative concept of serving fast-casual dining quality food in a box. This concept is unique in Bahrain and in line with the changing lifestyle of the country’s youth and millennial. The restaurant serves a variety of Asian dishes. As the name ‘Box It’ suggests, food made with the freshest ingredients is served in handy and portable designed paper boxes. A customer can select the ingredients and enjoy the freedom of creating a new box of craveable food each time they visit Box It or order food from home.

It is interesting to note that Box It has a unique tripartite or 3-step concept:

Pick It. Pick the freshest ingredients, whether it is Rice or Noodles or Mixed Vegetables, with the help of our friendly staff.

Box It. Box your meal under 2 mins with our Wok Chefs. Your box may even be delivered to your door!

Eat It. Eat your cravings wherever you are!

What are the other unique selling points of Box It?

Box It values each of its customers:

Health. At Box It, food is cooked the healthiest way by using fresh ingredients. All our ingredients are prepared and set on a daily basis and are picked from the freshest local suppliers in the market. 

Convenience. Quick, hot and tasty! Our boxes are portable and convenient to be carried and eaten from, anytime and anywhere,
without any mess!

Creativity. Our flexibility in the selection of our ingredients allows our customers to exercise their creativity by trying to MAKE THEIR OWN boxes of food every time they visit! With over 2000 Variations to choose from, each customer can have endless shots at being culinary-creative. 

How has Box It grown over the last 5 years?

In 2013, we had started with two outlets of Box It: one at the University of Bahrain and the other at Sitra Mall, both of which were largely over-the counter facilities, parts of the University canteen and the food court of Sitra Mall respectively. We observed that right from the onset, Box It was well-received by our target audience. The success of the first two outlets motivated us to branch out into the first stand-alone restaurant set-up, and in June 2014, we established our first stand-alone restaurant in Uptown Village, Budaiya. Stabilizing the growth and sustainability of the three branches of Box It, and witnessing how the food chain was gaining huge popularity with the people of Bahrain, we decided to extend our reach further to more people of Bahrain and hence we started another outlet in Gosi Mall in November 2016. This was followed by the establishment of our next branch in Seef Mall Muharraq in August 2017, which was followed by our next branch set-up in the Sharwa Complex of Isa Town  in January 2018, being well-received by the people in all these places, Then recently, in October 2018, we established our seventh branch in Bahrain, at Hamad Town.

We are soon to open our first branch in Saudi Arabia  in January of 2019. 

Over this 5-year long journey, we have kept developing our ingredients to be daily fresh right from produce to our daily hand-made noodles. We also strive to keep finding more solutions to ensure that our food is served without compromising on the quality. 

Achievements in the last 1 year?

1. We enrolled at our first franchise expo in Bahrain Franchise and Dine Expo. 

2. We sold our first master franchise consisting of 26 stores to be opened in Saudi Arabia. 

3. Box It has been recently been awarded the Best Bahrain Franchisee Brand of the Year award at the Bahrain Franchise and Dine Expo. It was a great honor for Box It to receive this prestigious award from the Chairman of MENAFA, Dr Khalid Al-Sharfa.  

4. Box It will represent Bahrain at the World Franchise awards in Madrid early 2019 to compete with other global franchise brands.

What are your plans ahead with Box It?

As part of the management’s local strategic plan, we plan to open several branches and a food truck concept in Bahrain.

Besides this, the management’s international plan is to expand globally within the next 3 years while 26 stores are currently in the pipeline to be opened in Saudi Arabia. We are also in talks with other franchisee prospects from UAE and other countries across the globe.

How will Box It as a franchise support its franchisees across the globe?

We have several support services to support our franchisees:

1. Our clients will not waste time strategizing marketing plans or writing down an operations manual. We provide them with an extensive operations manual with our turnkey business model. All they have to do is follow through with our system.

2. Training program is another way we support our franchisees. We shall provide a 1-week intensive training program in HQ in Bahrain. Additionally, all the training material will be in our portal via text and Videos for future references.   

3. Each franchisee will have an account manager to follow up with to get support for marketing, website and social media set-ups, continued training,  and site selection.

4. We will keep improving and adding on the support functions year by year and it’s a development we will keep investing in.

Our aim will be to make each franchisee a success story. We shall strive to maintain positive and steady growth each year. This will be aligned to our target of growing into a successful fast-casual chain of restaurants and gain a regional market share as the top Asian destination spot for takeout and delivery.

Box It, the fastest growing Asian brand in Bahrain and is soon to compete at the World’s Best Franchisee Awards which is to be held in early 2019 in Madrid. What are your feelings about this? 

My feeling is that of pride, eagerness and excitement. It fills us with pride to represent Bahrain at a global forum and compete with other top brands globally. We hope to win this competition and etch a niche for Bahrain and the Middle East on the global map of fast-casual franchises.

Five pieces of advice that you want to give to aspiring tech-trepreneurs.

Here are some to follow:

1. Explore the tech space for a bit before committing to something.

2. Be frank to yourself. If you don’t like a line of work, you’ll have a hard time sticking in later.

3. Be proficient in time management.

4. Learn as much as you can in life –preferably the things that are not just trendy and learn about the ‘why’ more than the ‘how.’

5. People are complicated. Get used to interacting with people who have issues.


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