By Norah Al Eisa
A one-on-one with the man behind FireGrill, CEO Steve Skoien.
How did the idea of Fire Grill come to be?
After being such fans of traditional yet iconic Mexican restaurants around Los Angeles such as El Coyote and El Cholo, or on a larger scale, Larry Kano’s El Torito, we welcomed the fresh innovation around concepts such as Freebirds and Chipolte as they hit the California quick service food scene. To us, the appeal of “custom building” a great, healthy, quick meal using the freshest of ingredients was such an improvement on the tired burger scene.
What’s your strategy to keeping customers in Saudi coming in?
From the beginning, we knew we’d do our FireGrill with the very best ingredients we could source. By using only high quality healthy ingredients, organic when able, we knew Saudis would appreciate the taste. We feel confident that we “raised the bar” on fast food.
How big of a role does social media play in your marketing campaign?
Social Media indeed has been a big part of FireGrill’s success. Saudis love to spread the good-word on great food with their friends and family. Three years since our launch, our traffic and loyalty continues at double-digit growth.
What has been the toughest thing to master in the restaurant business?
We have many years of operating restaurants in the Kingdom. Our other restaurant concepts include Steak House, Piatto, and City Fresh Kitchen. To date, securing good supply of our ingredients remains the daily challenge.
What are your best sellers?
The Fajita Chicken Rice Bowl was the biggest hit upon our opening. But today, the burrito has taken the lead. Still, our quesadilla has no peer in Saudi Arabia.
Will we be expecting new additions to the menu anytime soon?
Our chipotle-grilled chicken, FireGrilled top sirloin steak, lime-cilantro shrimp, and slow-roasted spicy barbacoa beef will always be staples of FireGrill. Perhaps a seasonal fresh hammour would make for great baja-style tacos similar to those on the food scene in California today.
In the meanwhile, our newest menu offerings include a fresh-hand-squeezed juice selection alongside our popular margaritas. Fresh beet root and carrot or fresh green apple and pomegranate are two favorites in testing. And don’t forget to try our Salted Caramel Dessert decadent caramel and pudding with all natural farmed sea-salt.