Aramex has published a report, in collaboration with Wamda and the American University in Cairo, on Mo’men, a fast food chain of restaurants based in Cairo, Egypt. The report recounts the fast growth of Mo’men and what allowed it to become one of the highest grossing fast food chains in Egypt. The report looks at what sets Mo’men apart from other more western based fast food chains.
Mo’men was founded by the three Mo’men brothers in 1988 in Heliopolis. The beginnings were humble, the initial capital was of EGP 12,000 ($1,500 USD) with no brand recognition to boost initial launch. Today, the brand is the third highest biggest player in Egypt, with over 9.5 millions customers a year.
The first reason for Mo’men’s success, according the report, is successful branding. The name “Mo’men” was selected because it is the family name of the founders, but as a brand name it means much more. The name gives a local ring to the brand, feeling more accessible to local consumers than other international brands. It became the Egyptian champion among international competitors, offering the same level of quality but with a local twist.
One of the key aspects of Mo’men’s success, is being local enough to be recognizable by local clientele but different enough to not just be “another shawerma” place. The report explains that Mo’men differentiates its products on three levels: product composition, product variety and product packaging. Regarding composition, the Mo’men brothers used local and well-known ingredients but made sandwiches that were different and original enough to be appealing to its clientele. Without a research and development department, the creation of new products was a painstaking trial-and-error process until the right product was created.
As for product variety, Mo’men offers a wider scale of choice than its competitors. Simply put, Mo’men clientele has a much large catalogue of sandwiches to choose from, nearly guaranteeing that everyone’s taste will be satisfied. Finally, the packaging of their products in colorful, high quality carton allowed them to further differentiate themselves from competitors and cement their position as a unique brand.
To ensure that all Mo’men branches were offering the exact same products, the Mo’men brothers devised specific operating standards. These standards defined the exact ingredients that each sandwich has, down to the proportions, the exact weight of a completed sandwich, how long it should take to complete an order, the exact way of communicating an order between staff members, among other steps in the production process. These operating standards have allowed Mo’men to grow without worrying about the quality of products and services in new branches.
And to be sure that quality standards were upheld in all branch stores, the Mo’men brothers started auditing operations. Specifically, the Mo’men Standard Review (MSR) is a scoring system for each restaurant designed to audit the level of service, quality and cleanliness of each restaurant. The branch manager then uses these reports to identify strengths and weakness and create new plans to improve his operations.
Lastly, the report details the expansion of Mo’men in other countries, such as its success in Sudan and its growth in Bahrain, Libya, Malaysia and the UAE. These expansions are done through joint ventures and acquisitions. according to the report, Mo’men is currently trying to acquire a chain of 20 restaurants in Malaysia at a value of MYR 15 million ($4.1 million USD). It is also eyeing for further acquisitions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates.
The goal of these acquisitions is to gain access to a foreign market via existing players. To ensure that it can afford such acquisitions Mo’men secured a deal with Actis, a private equity investor, to invest $48.5 million USD in the Mo’men Group.
To download the full report, please scroll up and click the gray box to the right.