Last year, Saudi Arabia allowed food trucks to serve pilgrims in holy places for the first time. Dozens of trucks managed and run by both women and men moved through various locations during Hajj offering food and drinks to visitors. With the drive to move its economy away from oil dependency, Saudi Arabia has been increasing institutional support for startups and up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
This has led to many young Saudi women and men setting up their own businesses such as food trucks, which have become a phenomenon in major cities across the country. Today, one woman who recently joined the wave of food truck owners is becoming a favorite in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.
Image via Gulf News
Reham Fozi Shabana can be found in various locations around the city, serving up delicious, juicy burgers to her customers. Only 26 years of age, this Saudi Arabian entrepreneur owns Serial Grillers, one of the few women-owned food trucks in the Kingdom. According to Gulf News, Shabana is actually a trained dentist but decided to embark on a journey into serving one of her favorite meals – burgers – to her city.
Two years ago, she decided to set up her truck while still keeping her daytime job at a clinic. Now juggling two jobs at once, Shabana explained to the news site how she turned her dream of owning Serial Grillers into a reality. She envisioned the design of the truck herself, created the logo, and then hired a designer to bring her vision to life. She also learned to cook burgers to perfection with the help of a local chef, adding her own touch to the patties she serves today.
With the growing interest in food trucks across Saudi Arabia, the market is now quite competitive, and it has become necessary to create a niche, which is what Shabana has done by creating exclusivity around her brand. Her strategy has been to simply make Serial Grillers something of a rare treat, a food truck that is not available all the time, which has been effective in sparking the interest of the city’s elite. Through this approach, she was able to nab high-profile events like the Drone Racing League at King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah last year.