Walid Hajj’s introduction to the F&B industry began when he first worked with United Trading Corporation (UTC), a company established by his entrepreneurial father in 1972, specialising in the import and distribution of branded food products in the Saudi market.
He broadened his marketing skills at Procter & Gamble where he worked as an assistant Brand Manager responsible for globally recognised products like Head & Shoulders. With international experience under his belt, he then made his way back to United Group – holding company of UTC – as Vice President, where he was instrumental in spearheading the development of a specialised division in restaurants and food service in the UAE. In 2000, Walid bought the franchise development rights for Cinnabon & Seattle’s Best Coffee in the UAE; and the first store opened in Abu Dhabi a year later. This milestone was followed by the introduction of Zaatar w Zeit to the UAE in 2005 and KSA in 2012. This development led to the inception of Cravia in 2001, which has grown to become a leader in the franchise community renowned for its strong operations and the highest level of execution. In 2013, Walid brought The Steak Bar to life – the company’s first signature brand.
Walid Hajj holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management and an MBA from the prestigious Harvard University.
Louay is a seasoned veteran of the restaurant industry. His career began over 15 years while working in international markets before starting a ten year career with Pizza Hut in Kuwait. His highly responsible position in Pizza Hut involved managing a large team, direct control of sales, key business expansion moves and extensive feasibility studies. His career includes numerous achievements and awards.
He has been with Cravia for almost six years and his contribution has been seen in the corporate areas as well as in the field operations. Louay has incorporated systems at every level to ensure the processes help elevate the operational standards of the company. “Louay has been instrumental in taking cravia from a good to a great company regionally recognized as the leader in the food and beverage industry. I am confident his impact will be felt for many years to come.” said Mr. Walid Hajj, CEO of Cravia.
Maroun Zeidan is General Manager of Cravia Arabia, where he is responsible for overseeing the operation and management of the group’s much-loved Five Guys and Zataar w Zeit franchises in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He directs all strategy and business activities on an ongoing basis, including the implementation of operating budgets and plans that are consistent with Cravia’s wider objectives and address the key areas of planning and organising, financial and restaurant excellence, people capabilities, business development, and culture and employee relations. His focus is to optimise competitive advantage for Cravia’s brands by achieving greater alignment between corporate culture and corporate strategy, while also significantly enhancing the customer experience and boosting sales growth for the company.
Mr. Zeidan brings 27 years of food industry experience to the role, having managed the multi-million dollar operations of renowned international brands including Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut Delivery (PHD), KanOOn and Dunkin’ Donuts. His 360-degree expertise ranges from developing personnel and ensuring cost-effective operational excellence, to building concepts, leading multifunctional teams and launching new brands. He has played an instrumental role in refining the customer experience offered by restaurants across the MENA region by strengthening their management ethos, transparency, ethical behaviour, sustainability and industry best practices.
Prior to his role with Cravia, Mr. Zeidan acted as the Director of Operations at Mawarid Food Company (MFC) in Riyadh, KSA where he operated and managed 38 Pizza Hut restaurants and 22 PHD units in the region, as well as the Meed Catering Division of MFC. He previously worked with MFC in Casablanca, Morocco as Director of Operations for Mawarid Marocaine, where he was responsible for 28 Pizza Hut restaurants, 9 PHD units and 5 KanOOn restaurants, and also during a variety of roles he held with Wendy’s in KSA including Regional Manager, Country Training Manager, Regional Operating Manager and Restaurant Manager. He began his professional life as Brand Manager for Dunkin’ Donuts in Riyadh, which laid the foundations for his ongoing work in the food industry.
Throughout his career, Mr. Zeidan has been responsible for the training of thousands of employees; he is a Restaurant Excellence Programme Instructor and has delivered numerous workshops and seminars in major cities including Dubai, Beirut and Columbus, Ohio. He is also the Managing Partner and Founder of Lilo’s Resto in Riyadh and launched local concepts including a steakhouse and a Greek restaurant during his time as a Freelance New Projects and Operations Consultant in KSA – an ongoing role that he continues to pursue today.
Mr. Zeidan graduated in Business Administration from the Etablissement Libanaise du Commerce (ELC) in Beirut, Lebanon and is professionally affiliated with the American Association of Advancement of Science, the National Restaurant Association and Harvard Business School. He brings a wealth of regional experience to Cravia and is fluent in Arabic, French and English.
Tony has extensive experience in the field of financial control. In the role of Chief Financial Officer, he provides the board with timely and accurate financial reports, ongoing cash flow projections, feasibility studies, accounting oversight, legal reports and design of financial reporting structures.
In addition to his financial oversight responsibilities, Tony’s role includes offering broad internal control and strategic advice to management. His multi-industry experience has been proven to greatly accelerate a company’s efforts to establish working business procedures and frameworks for corporate governance.
Tony’s previous positions encompass an array of different industry sectors, including, External Auditing, FMCG, Manufacturing and Oil & Gas.
Tony’s educational qualifications include a BA in Business Administration, a BA in Law, a Master’s in International Business and a Master’s in Finance. He is currently undertaking his Certified Management Accountancy. He speaks fluent English, Arabic and French.
With over two decades experience in the finance sector, Abdulla brings his expertise to Cravia as Finance Manager.
Abdulla’s key experience comes from three years practice with a reputed trust in India; working as Chief Internal Auditor with a leading Fast Food Company in Kuwait, Mahmoud El Ghanem Group; and holding the position of Finance Manager with a leading Public Company in Kuwait, Kout Food Company (franchisor for Applebee’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut and other international brands), for eleven years.
Abdullah holds a Master’s Degree in Financial Accounting from Calicut University.
As Human Resources (HR) Manager for Cravia, Adel is responsible for heading the company’s Human Resources Department and directing and coordinating all human resources activities. Adel brings a wealth of experience to his position, which he took up on joining the organisation in early 2014.
In his previous appointments, Adel has worked with some of the biggest names in the market, setting up fully integrated Human Resources Departments, revamping organizational structures and implementing working practice changes to ensure efficient delivery. He is fully versed with UAE and GCC labour laws to drive and lead HR strategy.
Well regarded for his supportive attitude, Adel is a graduate of State University of New York.
Director of Operations
Mahmoud is the director of operations at Cravia. Mahmoud has a complete business responsibility for the brands operations and development. His role covers overlooking the brands operations including call center and food production, in addition to a full responsibility of planning and opening new business units.
Mahmoud has 14 years’ experience in F&B industry, starting as a kitchen crew at Zaatar W Zeit in Lebanon; he has earned several promotions going through the entire hierarchy of the restaurants business covering various positions such as Restaurant Manager, Operations Manager, Brand and Multi-brand Manager and most recently Director of Operations of all cravia brands in the UAE. He has led the opening of Zaatar w Zeit in KSA and overlooked the market for 3 years.
Mr. Harb had studied Law in Beirut but his passion to the industry has driven him to focus on restaurants business. He believes that having a great team behind him encouraged and pushed him to develop his skills and grow in his career.
Mahmoud has been in Dubai for more than 12 years, working for Cravia..
Since joining Cravia Inc. in 2006, Souraya Halloway has been an invaluable asset to the company, growing from Marketing Supervisor to her current position as Marketing Manager handling Cinnabon, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Zaatar w Zeit and The Steak bar.
Souraya channels more than 11 years of experience into developing innovative strategies and continues to draw market attention to Cravia’s extensive portfolio of brands. Souraya has played a key role in Cravia’s growth in the region, especially in establishing the company’s first signature brand; The Steak Bar.
She is also heavily involved in conceptualising and managing all of Cravia’s events, from new outlet launches to major annual corporate milestones such as the Kickoff event and Founder’s Awards. Initially working alone, the department has grown to five people under her guidance, and she has also been responsible for launching and building the social media presence of Cravia online.
Before Cravia, her BA in Graphic Design allowed her to steadily progress through “Boubess Group” in Lebanon to become Marketing Manager, laying the groundwork for her success today.
Fahd Nazir has been leading the IT Administration team at Cravia since 2005 as IT Manager. He is responsible for building and developing the IT infrastructure to support the current and next generation of services and technologies in Cravia.
Since first joining the company, he has established an in-house development section, a state-of-the-art help desk and a delivery call center. He is actively involved in designing and planning IT infrastructure in all Cravia’s outlets. His focus is also on the Point of Sales systems of Cravia, designing and implementing a unified system and utilizing all the latest technologies in POS systems.
Prior to this role, he served as System Manager for Port and customs providing expert solutions and support in information security, technology, availability and storage.
With a Masters in Computers Sciences and as a holder of various leading IT Certifications, he also carries 13 years of experience in Information Technology and system analysis with him.
Ahmed Saeed is Cravia’s Purchasing & Warehouse Manager, responsible for supply chain management across the company’s brands.
Joining the company in 2001 as a General Accountant – handling cash flow and cost control – he was then promoted to Purchasing & Warehouse Supervisor for all brands, and now holds his current role as Manager handling new and existing brands across the UAE and the KSA.
Having been with Cravia for over 12 years and overseeing all supply chain and purchasing aspects of the company, Ahmed has provided outstanding support to several departments and outlets through his direct work with suppliers. His management of three main warehouses has ensured smooth operational flow and cautious maintenance of materials.
Ahmed holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Finance & Accounts from Philadelphia University – Jordan; and a diploma in Computer Office Automation.
Maurice Irani joined Cravia in 2014 with the responsibility of ensuring that Cravia team members continue to deliver the first class service that is a hallmark of the company’s operations. As Training and Development Manager for the organisation, Maurice’s main duties include setting up effective customer-focused employee programs, formulating courses that promote professional ongoing development for Cravia.
Maurice has an extensive background of training and development across industry sectors with a history of providing top quality internal education programs for renowned names such as Azadea Group and Good Food Company. Specialized in staff development for the food service industry, Maurice has leveraged his skills in F&B organizations across the GCC, MENA region and Turkey.
Maurice attained a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Food Science and Management from the American University of Beirut.
Marwan Kandeel is Multi-Brand Manager at Cravia, responsible for keeping the integrity of all brand names associated with the company. Prior to taking up this role at the start of 2014, Marwan was Senior Brand Manager, a position he held since 2007. Marwan has been with Cravia for over a decade, having worked his way up from Store Manager in 2001, then Area Manager in 2004. Before joining the organisation, he worked with the Alfredo Italian Chain and with Sheraton in Amman, Jordan. In 2007, he was honoured as Cravia’s Best Employee of the Year. In both 2002 and 2003 he was named Best Assistant Manager of the Year.
Moussa Tarhini is the Brand Manager of Zaatar w Zeit KSA at Cravia. His is responsible for generating strategies that grow market share and brand’s reputation, improve customer experience and drive growth. Moussa has a Bachelor Degree in Management Information System but his commitment and dedication to the company led him to pursue his goals in the restaurant industry. Mr. Tarhini has been with the company for 13 years, starting in 2004 as Delivery Supervisor in Lebanon and walking his way up the hierarchy by achieving many promotions such as Floor Manager, Branch Manager, Area manager and Operations Manager in Dubai in the year 2009. In 2012, Moussa was given the opportunity to move to KSA, become the Brand Manager of Zaatar w Zeit and most importantly launch the first outlet in the region. Moussa believes that without his team he wouldn’t have been where he is now. He claims that “Successful Leaders should go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their team. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish”.
Chadi has 17 years of experience in the food and beverage industry.
He has been with Cravia Arabia for over two years as a Senior Operations Manager for Five Guys.
Before joining the organisation, Chadi worked with different brands across GCC and Iraq; starting back in 2000 as manager in training, proceeding to become a field trainer, after which he became a training manager and got promoted as the operations manager and director of operations.
Talal Kreidieh is Purchasing and Logistics Manager for KSA at Cravia. He joined the company in 2015 and has since put his extensive background in supply chain, warehouse management and competitive pricing to the service of Cravia’s brands.
Prior to his career with Cravia, Mr. Kreidieh worked across a diversity of industry sectors in all of the GCC countries, building a solid professional track-record; building skills in supply chain, sourcing, and entering new markets; and acquiring valuable experience with multi-national companies including Al Shaya International Trading Company.
Mr. Kreidieh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality & Hotel Management.
Alaa Sadek is Cravia’s Project Manager. He has been with the company since September 2016 and is responsible for new sites and construction across the company’s brands.
Previously Mr. Sadek worked as a consultant in private sectors on a variety of projects, proven track record of delivering projects on time and within budget. Solid experience in project management provides him with the capabilities and experience to successfully fulfill this position
Mr. Sadek holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from BAU University in Jordan.
Ali has 16 years of extensive experience from different industries like manufacturing, electronics, research and marketing, food and beverages, home and furniture.
He finished his studies at University of Glamorgan on May 2010. He worked as HR Manager with Kudu, Tamimi and IKEA doing all HR facets from recruitment, employee relations, compensation & benefits and HR Operations.
His personal objective is to pursue a challenging full-time position as Human Resources Manager ; in addition to developing and managing my career to be knowledgeable and effective.
I am confident, outgoing HR Professional with great experience in Human Resources, Environmental Analysis and Commerce at all levels. This wide range of experience is complemented
by a flexible and adaptable personality used in problem solving, teamwork and focused objectivity.