Fine dining by the sea:

Al Sanbok Restaurants Trading Co. from Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province restaurant group excels with Quality and winning concepts

© 2016 R. Men / J. Zamora

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, foodservice is one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy. As the country diversifies and develops its economy, rapid changes are taking place in the lifestyles of Saudis. The increase in inside the country travel, busier schedules, and shifting consumption patterns have all contributed to Saudis eating outside the home more and more often, and it looks like the trend is set to continue.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) reports that “total revenues generated from sales of food, beverages and foodservice” in the country increased by 87 percent from 2006 to 2012. This represents an unbelievable amount of growth in an industry estimated to be worth $18 billion in annual revenues today.

One of the areas that has benefited most from this development of the food service industry is the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, particularly the popular tourist and commerce destinations dotting the coast of the Persian Gulf. One company that has been instrumental in both capitalizing on, and ushering in the new era of restaurants in the area is Al Sanbok Restaurants Trading Co. Ltd., based in the city of Al Khobar.

The company was founded in 1989 with the opening of its first restaurant, Al Sanbok, located on a small peninsula on the coast of Khobar. The restaurant, still thriving today, specializes in serving the freshest and finest seafood imaginable, both caught in the Persian Gulf and flown in from waters all over the world. It is considered one of the best fine dining restaurants in the city, and was a pioneer when it came to serving food made with only world-class, quality ingredients.

© 2016 R. Men / J. Zamora

The company followed up its success with another foray into the world of fine-dining, La Gondola, which focuses on gastronomic presentations of rustic Italian cooking. Freshly made pizzas and pasta, authentic flavors, and incredible ambience have made La Gondola one of the toughest tables to get in Al Khobar.

With these two runaway successes under its belt, Al Sanbok Restaurants turned its attention towards developing a growth-oriented brand that appealed to the younger generation’s love of quality food at lower prices, served in an informal, casual environment—a market segment known in the foodservice industry as fast-casual. Al Sanbok created La Caravella, a fast-casual concept that serves beautifully executed Italian classics in a fun atmosphere.

La Caravella’s first location opened in 2007 at the Al-Rashid mall in Khobar, and a second location in Rhaka followed in 2010. In 2015, Al Sanbok Restaurants opened the third branch of La Caravella on the coastal promenade in Dammam, and a fourth location is opening this year in Jubail. The concept has proven to be a major hit with young Saudis, and Al Sanbok has hired on professionals with experience in expanding international dining concepts to manage the future of this exciting and growing brand.

With a rock solid foundation in fine dining, and an exciting future in a diverse and growing field, Al Sanbok Restaurants has been developing its Quality technology for quite some time. Quality is of the utmost importance to Al Sanbok, and it takes many forms. Its Quality Management system seeks to meet the needs of ownership, employees, customers, and the community at large. This means strict adherence to standards stipulating, for instance, food safety, customer satisfaction, and employee performance expectations. In a growing organization such as Al Sanbok, building thorough yet efficient systems to ensure quality is the best way to scale without losing the excellence that made it such a success in the first place.


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.

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