High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur Connections: Saudi Arabia’s Shawarmer Makes Endeavor Connection with South Africa’s Taste Holdings


Demonstrating the impact of Endeavor’s global network, two Endeavor Entrepreneurs recently made a cross-regional connection, leveraging each other’s expertise in the food and beverage industry to share best practices and gain new insights on business development. Abdulmohsin Al-Rabiah, founder of Saudi Arabia’s Shawarmermade a visit last month to South Africa to the headquarters of Taste Holdings, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Carlo Gonzaga, with the goal of examining Taste’s growth and operations strategies for its portfolio of franchised brands.

A management group that invests in a number of franchised food and consumer retailers, Taste Holdings has grown to over 600 outlets across South Africa, bringing names like Scooters Pizza, Maxi’s Grill, Domino’s, NWJ Jewelry and more to the region. Having created thousands of new jobs and crafted a successful investment model, Carlo and Taste have seen year-over-year revenue growth and attracted the attention of a  number of international retailers. With Shawarmer, a chain of nearly 30 fast food restaurants across Saudia Arabia, Abdulmohsin was looking to gain insight from Taste’s success that would relate to his own franchise model and help him accelerate his brand’s growth while streamlining operations.

Over the two-day visit, Abdulmohsin met with Carlo and also visited outposts of Taste’s most popular franchises, meeting with branding and operations executives while getting an in-depth look at production and distribution centers. The main objectives were to explore Taste’s efforts across its marketing, legal and revenue structures and learn about the advantages and challenges of its vertical integration processes. Ultimately, Abdulmohsin was able to gain a better understanding of how to balance corporate ownership with franchisees, maintain operations standards, improve employee culture, and make technical improvements to his supply chain.

Since joining Endeavor in 2007, Carlo has become an entrepreneur success story, serving as a mentor, ISP panelist and South Africa Board Member and helping to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs in his region. While only selected in 2013, Abdulmohsin is demonstrating his high-impact potential with connections like this, continuing to work closely with Endeavor’s network of mentors and experts to accelerate his brand’s expansion.


Abdulmohsin meeting with a team at Taste Holdings


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