Projects that remain at the heart: the Arab pastry

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, but a sultry afternoon in the July of 2011. We were in Riyadh, and what we had in front of us was a space of about 450 square meters to build a pastry shop.

Not just a patisserie whatever, but a “replicable” patisserie.

Let us explain better.

We had developed the brief during the Gulfood project and Mr. Ali, our client, had told us the fascinating history of Saadeddin, a kingdom of sweetness with a long tradition, which had, among its other objectives, an aspiration to increase the number of points of sale (till then 45) – distributed across the Saudi territory – and get into real franchise development and expand in neighboring countries.

The Arab culture confectionary is quite well known for its ingredients, less known for the specific cultural behavior linked to the entrepreneurial vision or to consumer habits.

Think big is a typical characteristic and Saadeddin completely embraces that style: important spaces fully served by an employment of staff who could touch even the 30 units.
But those were the years of a certain economic boom in India and, from the brief it turned out that finding cheap staff with a good attitude to HO.RE.CA was becoming increasingly difficult.

Wasn’t very functional, as well, to leave the non-operatonal resources during the visit of the Sheikhas, who could pretends the doors closed to enjoy the shopping in peace, with the maximum attention for all the time that they need, between an obviously offered coffee and a chat with a friend.


The consumption habits were gradually modifying itself, thanks to the arrival of McDonald’s and Starbucks, and speed of use was becoming an important asset.

The concept that we proposed to Mr. Ali aimed at solving their problems and fulfilling his wish taking into account many variables but without distorting the already established strengths.

It was certainly not a question of a purely identity issue or a simple restyling of a look: aesthetics, as always, are only a component of a much broader strategy – a strategy to earn more and better.

That’s why our priority was exactly that of intervening in the business model, before any other aspect and, at the beginning, it was not easy to transfer this pretty radical idea to the customer.

Saadeddin was the first bakery to structure 85% of its sales outlets on a self-service model: a rich display of pre-ceramic trays, great both for home consumption as well as a gift, allowed the perfect resource optimization and it went to meet emerging customer needs.

Furthermore, in the area served, which, of course, remained active, the cost of the product underwent a slight increase, since the value of a plus should always be recognized.

The result was a brave hybrid between a boutique and a new concept of patisserie, which soon tickled the fancy of consumers and investors.

A great quantum leap involved the aspect of sustainability with materials and lighting being completely involved.

Thanks to these choices and of course, the constant work of those who live it every day, the Saadeddin chain has grown from 45 stores to more than 100 in a few years.

We sincerely thank Mr. Ali for having trusted our intuition.

What about you? What is your heart project?


  • Eng, food&retail, Home
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