If you ever pay a visit to the Northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, rest assured that no local would let you leave the area without stopping by the old harbor to sample the delicacies freshly prepared by Abul Rahman Al-Hallab & Sons’ ‘Kasr El Helou’, or palace of sweets. Incomparably delicious, Tripoli might be renowned for its ancestral history and great Phoenician heritage, yet Al-Hallab & Sons remains as a pillar of Lebanese history and artisanal trade since its early beginnings in 1881, as well as an emblem for the finest and most prestigious oriental traditional sweets across all of Lebanon.
Today, the palace of sweets is winning hearts of the local population, as avid fans and new addicts flock to The Avenues location to satisfy their cravings for authentic Lebanese desserts, just in time for the Holy month of Ramadan. Here to tell us all about the brand’s journey to Kuwait is Shadi Al-Samad, the official franchisee of Al-Hallab & Sons in Kuwait.
Hi Shadi, Can you tell us about yourself?
Hey Guys! I am a Managing Partner and founder of M2R GROUP, which was launched in 2008 with my childhood friend Saad Al Hakim, and specializes in branding activities in shopping malls and interactive advertising. I am also the founder of Venacava Advertising agency, and eventually followed my dream to become the franchisee of Al-Hallab & Sons in Kuwait and Subway in northern Lebanon. I’ve always admired the Al-Hallab & Sons brand, and it has been a dream of mine to become their franchisee in Kuwait. When I’m not busy working, my main hobbies include Go-karting, football and traveling.
Why did you choose Al-Hallab & Sons to bring to Kuwait?
Since I was young, I’ve loved the concept and appreciated the brand. My personal attachment to the brand also stems from where I am originally from, Northern Lebanon, as that is also where Al-Hallab & Sons originates. The famous ‘Kasr el Helou’, or palace of sweets, was part of my childhood where my father used to take me as well as many other Lebanese families. They’ve always been known to produce the most prestigious and authentic oriental sweets. Because I also happened to be in direct contact with the Al-Hallab family, I saw an opportunity to export this brand to Kuwait. I worked tirelessly on analyzing the market and its need for authentic oriental sweets and noticed that local Kuwaitis also knew and appreciate the brand. Making the decision was easy, and the adventure so far has been extremely rewarding, as my instinct told me that the brand would be a success in Kuwait.
Can you tell us more about the brand’s history?
Al-Hallab & Sons is a leading Lebanese brand for oriental sweets, and has grown to become one of Lebanon’s leading brands in the market. Its beginnings were quite small, with a small location in Tripoli, Northern Lebanon that grew into a fully-fledged catering business. Since I was a kid, I was raised loving this brand and I knew all of the delectable sweets they prepared. I studied the know-how of their presentation, the accuracy of the quality and taste as well as Al-Hallab’s creativity in packaging. All of these factors led me to venture into a new investment, and I naturally chose the Kuwaiti market, known for its customer’s highly sophisticated taste palates. I knew they would appreciate the true flavors of oriental sweets, just like me as I grew up learning all about Al-Hallab & Sons, and how the brand has always distinguished itself from other oriental sweet shops in Lebanon in terms of product offering, taste and quality. There has always been a strong connection between Kuwait and Lebanon. Since Kuwaitis have a love for oriental sweets, especially Al-Hallab’s handmade sweets, I thought to myself, ‘why not bring Al-Hallab to Kuwait?’
Was this an easy task, or was it very challenging? What were the biggest difficulties you faced?
It’s never an easy task, but the decision was easy. What I found to be the most challenging was to present Al-Hallab & Sons as it is in Lebanon, with all of its tiny details, ensuring that we are able to implement the brand’s attention to quality and taste, as well as the know-how of the presentation when it came to preparing and packing the sweets.
What should customers expect at Al-Hallab & Sons?
Our professional team will warmly welcome clients with traditional Lebanese hospitality. Customers can expect a freshly prepared range of oriental sweets, one that reflects Al-Hallab & Son’s premium reputation for making the finest traditional Lebanese desserts. This Ramadan, expect a mouthwatering cheese Knefe, which is a hit amongst Kuwaitis and expats alike. We will soon be launching the Ashta line (Fresh cream), which is recognized as Al-Hallab & Son’s number one offering. All of this is demonstrated in the Kuwaiti traditional atmosphere with the traditional tea and the Arabian Dallah coffee.
How are the traditional oriental sweets different at Al-Hallab & Sons from their competitors?
Oriental sweets at Al-Hallab & Sons retain three exclusive characteristics that are also the brand’s unique selling points: A unique and inimitable taste, creative presentation across all of the product offerings, and consistent quality and flavor that has been around since the brand’s inception in 1881.
What do you love the most about Al-Hallab & Sons? What are some of your favorite products?
I practically love all of the ranges of sweets at Al-Hallab & Sons, but my favorites include the Knefe with Ashta, Baklawa and Maa’moul. However, I truly believe that every single product has its own signature flavor, and I am simply addicted to each and every type of oriental sweet.
Can you tell us more about the Avenues location?
I chose The Avenues because it is Kuwait’s leading mall with its professional management and strength being under Mr. Mohammed Houmoud Al Shayaa, the number 1 business man in the region in terms of retail and dining choices as well as the high traffic the mall receives. We also opted for the Souq area specifically because of its traditional charm that fits in perfectly with Al-Hallab & Son’s identity.
What are some of your future plans for Al-Hallab & Sons?
I’m hoping to open a new location in Salmiya, or a similar residential area. I do feel very blessed, nonetheless, for the traffic that we have managed to create for Al-Hallab & Sons since we’ve launched the first location in The Avenues. One of our main goals, and my personal promise, is that we will have the ability to cater to every single house in Kuwait through our reliable delivery service.
We are also now available in Al Rifai outlets which is another important step for our expansion plan.
You can find Al-Hallab & Sons at The Souk at The Avenues. For more information, follow Al-Hallab & Sons in Kuwait on Instagram @hallabkw. For delivery orders, please call 2220 1881.