Chicking: Meet creator of world’s first Halal fast food chain from Dubai

Estimated read time 4 min read

AK Mansoor is the founder and chairman of Chicking. JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA

Launching the world’s first fast food chain serving only Halal food is no mean feat, but AK Mansoor managed to do it starting with just one restaurant in Dubai over 23 years ago.

Speaking to Expat Media, the founder and chairman of Chicking said he didn’t aim to be revolutionary when he hatched the idea for Chicking. “But it had always been my vision to have fully Halal fast food served globally,” Mansoor says, calling it a better option for consumers.

The astute businessman and restaurateur knew it was a bold venture sourcing fully-Halal ingredients, but with his connections in the food industry and a determined team, Mansoor made it happen. He opened his first restaurant in Dubai in 2000. With its Halal-certified fast food niche, Chicking now has more than 350 stores in over 38 countries in the Middle East and Africa, Europe, US, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Demand for Halal products is growing. We have been rapidly expanding in the last 23 years, and even more now because many countries like our specialty Halal food made for all taste buds,” Mansoor says. The ambitious restaurateur says he is set to open more than 200 stores in 15 more countries in the next two years.

Mansoor says his signature goal is to get people to eat well without necessarily paying more. “When people try our food, they come back because of the quality and our service and affordable price,” he says. “We keep a small profit margin, but keep the food quality,” he adds.

Chicking serves freshly fried or grilled chicken, as well as burgers, pizzas, spaghetti, wraps and rice dishes at affordable prices. Chicking’s diverse menu includes dishes influenced by Asian, Mexican, American and Italian cuisines.

From UAE to the world

It’s been quite a journey for the businessman from Kerala, India. “I was 20 years old when I arrived in the UAE 35 years ago,” he says. Mansoor worked various jobs before he tried his luck at running his own business. “I believed I will succeed one day,” he says.

AK Mansoor is the founder of Chicking

With the help of investors impressed by his work ethics, Mansoor ran two thriving companies: Al Bayan Cargo in 1994 and Al Bayan Water in 2000. He later sold them as he started a business idea he has had in mind for years. “I remember during my first years here, I had fried chicken at a fast food joint, but it wasn’t fully Halal. I thought I would create my own fast food to serve those on Halal diet,” he says. Fast forward to April 20, 2000, Chicking launched in Dubai.

“I didn’t have much experience. I made a lot of mistakes. But in 23 years, I learned a lot of things. Those experiences, I share with my franchisees and customers,” he says.

Mansoor certainly learned from experience, which is why Chicking has become one of the most in-demand franchises in the world. In his home state of Kerala alone, there are 80 Chicking stores.

When asked about his secret ingredient to success, Mansoor answers: “Commitment. It is my secret. Commitment to my customers, my staff and my brand.” Customers are treated like guests, while staff are treated like family. Many of his staff members have been working for Chicking in the last 15 years. “I deal with them like family. I give good support to them because I am getting good support from them,” Mansoor says.

He continues to focus on opening more Chicking outlets around the world, reshaping the global fast food scene one all-Halal outlet at a time. His target is to open 1,000 more outlets in the next few years.

“Chicking, a product of UAE, from UAE to the world, as I always say,” Mansoor says with a grin. ICA/Expat Media


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