Here at bazaar, we love us a good story. Especially when the story involves a local business that’s passionate about what they do. Enter Mohammed and Mubarak Jaffar, the masterminds behind the Kuwait London Company (KLC). As a means to venture into several different business and industries, they set up KLC back in 2008 as a General Trading and Contracting Company. In 2009, KLC found its calling in the restaurant business and Mohammed created The Kitchen. A year later, the Jaffar family acquired Talabat and Mohammed helped it grow. With Talabat on KLC’s side, Mubarak saw the full potential in the restaurant delivery business.
That steered KLC towards the operation of 4 brands with 12 outlets in total across Kuwait that we all enjoy today. At The Kitchen you’re guaranteed to get the warmth of a home-cooked meal, sans the messy dishes. With Junkyard, KLC brings you the quality street-foods you desire. While Humble Burgers pays tribute to none-other than the mighty classic burger and Proper Sliders is meant to take you back in time, to childhoods spent at fun fairs and on Ferris wheels. Each concept promises to be more delicious than the next! But let’s take a moment to reflect on their humble beginnings – pun absolutely intended.
When Mubarak obtained his master’s degree in Management in the MENA Region from SOAS in 2012, he returned to Kuwait and created his first independent project with KLC, Junkyard. “I was always interested in the restaurant business,” Mubarak explained, “However, I didn’t feel I had enough experience in the industry to venture into it right away.” With Mohammed having set up The Kitchen’s two operating outlets, his concerns grew with the concept’s second outlet in The Village and considered shutting it down. “At the time I was against the idea,” Mubarak elaborated, “So I proposed to change the concept into an American Street Food joint.” That is when Junkyard saw the light and took The Kitchen’s place in The Village. With support and guidance from Mohammed, Mubarak’s concept took off, which encouraged him to take KLC even further.
From there, Humble Burgers came to follow and Proper Sliders sealed the deal. Each concept provides us with its unique flavor profile and distinctive creations. Big on quality and service, KLC’s top concern is to provide the public with what they want: “Good quality, reasonably-priced dishes that are delivered hot within 45 minutes to an hour.” Heavily invested and involved in every aspect of the business, Mubarak and KLC’s graphic designer are constantly developing each brand’s identity elements – “It’s definitely an exciting ongoing process,” Mubarak added. We sat with Mubarak to learn more about KLC and our favorite dessert (which is available at all their concepts, by the way) – the Chubby Balls.
We have to ask, Chubby Balls – how did these even come to be? What makes them so special?
My sister actually came up with our version of this classic dessert dish that features commonly in most childhood memories. She first brought in the Chubby Balls for us to try out during a family gathering and they were an instant hit. We then released the dish in The Kitchen and it soon became a top seller. It’s a simple, yet delicious, biscuit based dessert that never fails to please a crowd.
If you had to choose, which is your favorite concept and what’s your go-to dish?
My favorite concept is definitely Junkyard and my alltime favorite dish is the B-C-B (Bacon Cheese Burger).
What’s the process for creating an item for the menu? How do you decide which concept it will be introduced to?
We are constantly testing new items with our chefs – who are always looking to create something special. It’s quite a complicated, yet fun process and involves a lot of tasting sessions with a number of different team members, family and friends who all contribute to the final product. Each brand is unique and has its own signature dishes yet there are some similarities and some dishes are available across the 4 brands such as Chubby Balls which is our signature dessert.
All your concepts are local – what sets you apart from other local concepts?
The majority of successful local concepts in Kuwait were dine-in concepts and few really penetrated the delivery market as it was dominated by several big players. We decided to take a different approach when it came to the home-delivery market and offer our valued customers quality, reasonably-priced food conveniently delivered to their door.
Why does KLC focus more on delivery concepts?
At the time, the market was underserved and we saw that the delivery market had a lot of potential making it very attractive – given the abundance of dine-in concepts in Kuwait.
How does KLC maintain a high standard when it comes to delivery?
We use quality packaging that is specially made for food delivery. This helps retain the heat of the products and safeguards our products during the delivery process. We also use heat bags with every delivery for hot items and try to deliver food to areas within a certain proximately from the restaurant to avoid food arriving late to customers.
Quality control is very important to KLC – how do you ensure consistency of quality and how can people provide feedback?
We love feedback! Getting constructive feedback from customers is essential to our business and we are constantly encouraging people to give us feedback through our different channels: Either by calling us directly, dropping us an email, through social media or our websites.
You’ve just launched a catering service – what should people expect? How do they get in touch? Is there a minimum order?
Himdillah, we officially launched our catering service for all of our brands. We used to receive many requests from our customers for events that we were not able to fulfil and it was really a matter of time before we felt we had to launch our catering service. You can either contact the restaurants directly or drop us an email and we’ll book you in for an event. We are currently flexible when it comes to the size of the order and it really depends on availability and the location of the event.
Are there any new projects in the works? A new concept?
None at the moment. We’re constantly looking to improve on our customer experience by optimizing our delivery service.
What’s next for KLC?
We’re currently working on developing our call center and integrating it with all our outlets. We’re also always looking at new potential locations and we are seriously considering opening more outlets next year in Kuwait and studying the possibilty of expanding across the GCC – Inshallah.
For more information on Kuwait London Company, visit their website www.kuwaitlondoncompany.com.