We caught up with Abdullah Alsisi, Country Manager Bidfood Middle East, Bahrain, to learn how the company puts the great food we love on restaurant tables across the Kingdom.
Since Bidfood in Bahrain is mostly a behind-the-scenes operator, please tell us what the company does and how our readers may have encountered or been affected by your services.
Bidfood Bahrain has one mission in mind – helping foodservice operators provide an amazing dining experience to the end consumers. Bidfood works around the clock to ensure distributing the best food and beverage brands to those customers. Bidfood is proud to say that it has helped and continues to help hundreds of restaurants, hotels, cafés and other operators provide the consumers in Bahrain with great food and beverage products. We might be working behind the scenes, but we are one of the main reasons why consumers in Bahrain are exposed to great dining experiences.
Bidfood supplies a huge range of products across the hospitality sector, how do you ensure the quality of your products?
Bidfood is a global leader in foodservice distribution, operating in more than 35 countries. This leadership is backed up by great experience in selecting the best food and beverage (F&B) from all over the world. Our team is specialised in helping operators provide an amazing dining experience using top quality products from the country of origin – and that experience comes from our expertise within the F&B world, whether in kitchens or on restaurant floors. We proudly say that we have managed to put together a portfolio of brands and products that are of the highest quality and bring the best value-for-money for our customers. For example, our beef programme selection includes a detailed study of the animal breed, the marbling, the handling and, most importantly, the performance on the grill.
For example, is your Angus Beef traceable?
All our products, especially our Angus Beef, are traceable across all the value chains. From the time that the cattle are born till the day of slaughter, the cattle are traced. After slaughter, the traceability continues to the ageing, packaging, shipping and storage. All the shipping value chain is temperature tracked and tested to ensure that the products are 100% in line with the standards of our customers.
You are partnered with some of the biggest names in the Bahrain food and beverage industry, such as Four Seasons, how do your relationships work – it must be an operation of huge scale?
Our relationships with all our stakeholders, including our customers and suppliers, are the key to our success. We ensure that even though our operation is of huge scale, we continue to be as personal as we can on all levels. We work very closely with highly-qualified chefs, restaurant managers and operators, who expect nothing less than perfect service levels and we are always making sure we are a key to their success. This relationship is centred around innovation, honesty and is a win-win.
Are your storage facilities here in Bahrain?
Yes, our storage facilities are all in Bahrain. We also have storage facilities in the neighbouring GCC markets which Bidfood ME operates in. This always helps us mitigate any supply-chain issues we may face. For example, during Covid-19, many suppliers of ours were unable to ship product and, due to our regional presence, we were able to support Bidfood Bahrain from those neighboring businesses, especially from Saudi Arabia.
Having started as HORECA in the UAE with just nine people back in 2003, how many people does the rebranded Bidfood now employ across the region and in Bahrain specifically?
Bidfood ME employs over 450 brilliant people, from over 30 nationalities around the world. Bidfood Bahrain has more than 25 employees based in Bahrain and 18 employees supporting the business based between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Do you have a lot of Bahraini employees – how is the process of Bahrainisation within Bidfood?
More than 30% of our employees are Bahraini and we are continuing to ensure that we hire more Bahraini nationals in the future. Our aim is to have more than 50% being Bahrainis by the end of 2023.
In other markets across the region, Bidfood has successfully taken on a business-to-consumer role. Is this something that is planned for Bahrain?
Bidfood Home – which is our business-to-consumer application is a proven success model in the UAE and some other markets around the world, and the success is due to the fact that we were able to provide restaurant-quality products to consumers, at an extremely affordable price. While this model is not the core of our business, we have yet to consider if we will expand this model to other markets in the region.
Your website mentions sustainability goals and CSR, can you tell us about this side of the company in Bahrain?
Bidfood focuses significantly on sustainability and CSR. In fact, Bidfood ME was created in order to reduce the number of orders and deliveries made between foodservice operators and retail distributors, by acting as a one-stop-shop for multiple high-quality brands.
We also work on supporting local charities and work closely with food banks.
Another initiative Bidfood ME and specifically Bahrain has endorsed is the introduction of Impossible Meat – which is a plant-based meat alternative aimed at reducing carbon footprint globally. In addition, we are introducing Tres Marias Plant Based Milks, which are a great alternative to dairy products, another initiative to help reduce carbon footprints from animals.
Anything else you would like to add?
Bidfood is proud to be the first foodservice company to introduce the first fully integrated e-commerce platform in Bahrain and the region. Launched in 2022, myBidfood allows customers to place, amend and track orders anytime, anywhere. myBidfood also allows operators to view recipes, calculate food costs, track calories per meal, see real-time product availability and even collect loyalty points when buying. myBidfood is available on the web and as an app and can be downloaded from IOS and Android App Stores. We are very proud to say that since launch, customers in Bahrain have fully endorsed myBidfood and that, so far, over 35% of our business has fully moved to myBidfood. ✤
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