Oct/ Nov Article in the franchise magazine

This article was released in the Oct/Nov issue in the franchise magazine talking about the success story of Wooden Bakery.

40 Years of Continuous Success

In a forty year journey, Wooden Bakery has reaped nothing but success and has risen unchallenged in the Lebanese market and untouched by the competition. At the same time, Wooden Bakery plays a leading role in the market and its productive competitiveness. Mr. Ghassan Abou Habib, VP of sales & marketing department, discusses this success and its reasons as he encourages others to adopt the concept of Franchise as an effective means of expansion. Yet he explicitly blames Lebanese officials and the state for neglecting individual initiatives and Lebanese creativity as well as the lack of support.

The following is an interview with a true Lebanese success story:  

What is the secret of your growing success throughout all these years?

We offer good services and excellent products which are the daily necessity of every consumer. We provide them through a unique system guaranteeing constant quality all around the year. We also offer a constant level of service by training our staff to provide customers with whatever makes them feel comfortable. This has forever been the key to our success.  

When did you open and what distinguishes you?

My father began working in this field 40 years ago. My brother Assaad and I launched the idea of Wooden Bakery in 2000 to provide every home with the basic needs of bread, dairy products, sandwiches and sweets. This became a place that offers a variety of fresh products quickly every day for the consumer.  

How many branches in Lebanon do you have today?

We currently have 30 branches across Lebanon, 5 owned outlets. Between end of this year & the next we will open 6 new branches in KSA master franchise in addition to 5 branches.  

What did the Franchise system offer you?

Adopting this system has been a major step for us because it enabled us to be present in all Lebanese provinces and we became every home’s daily bread. The idea of Wooden Bakery relied essentially on speed, the speed of access that we offer the consumer to our food products that he needs on daily basis. Yet this speed never affects our quality. This is the factor that made this idea successful and distinct: speed, variety and quality are our success factors.  

What are the strengths and weaknesses of a franchise?

Certainly the franchise has made our name renowned everywhere and for this we thank our staff that follows every detail. Our weaknesses are only due to the hard conditions in the country which lead to increase of prices of raw material and labor with no return or clear official support.  

What are your problems and demands?

In-depth studies must be made for bread production in order to maintain clear standards of hygiene, quality, sorting and packaging. These standards will filter the labor in this market and control the production process. On these basis the price of pita bread will be set.  

Are you affected by political and security conditions?

We live in constant concern especially due to the rising prices of raw material with no return. The number of staff at Wooden Bakery has reached 1800 persons which is burdening us with great responsibilities and slowing down our progress.  

What about competition in the industry?

We do not have a real competitor at all. There are many establishments working in this industry but none of them resembles us. Today our outlets welcome more than 60,000 customers a day.      

How do you deal with the international standards of a franchise?

We deal with a European company that awards us HACCP and ISO certifications that all global companies abide by. Through these certifications we implement the regulations that puts side by side with other international establishments.  

What do you think is the role of the Lebanese Franchise Association?

This association plays a very important role and we extend our regards to it. But it is enduring the same difficult conditions of the country. We hope that this association reaches excellent results that will benefit us all.  

Do you have any future plans?

We are studying various offers, but soon we will have two master franchises in UAE & Qatar.   In addition all plans are ready and set to motion to start another plant in North Lebanon and two additional hubs to cover Bekaa & South Lebanon.