KUWAIT - Economy
CEO & Secretary of the Board, Chairman's Club
Mohammed al Haroun is an F&B professional and founder of Evolve Gym, with almost 20 years of experience within the F&B industry. He is also a provisional auditor of Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) for ISO 22000, HACCP system, and ISO 9001.
Mohammed Al Haroun, CEO & Secretary of the Board at the Chairman’s Club, talks to TBY about the history of the institution and plans for the future.
Can you elaborate further on your background?
I have been in the F&B business for about 20 years. I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and started as a quality assurance officer in airline catering. There, I learned a great deal about operations and food safety management. There are many prerequisites to fulfill before even thinking of creating a restaurant and serving a meal. Two years ago, I was brought in by the Chairman’s Club to improve costs, operations, and daily workflow. With a team effort, my team has tackled the notes and provided better results, which I am proud of, and I am looking forward to more challenges.
The Chairman’s Club was established in 2004. How has it evolved since you came on board?
The idea of the Chairman’s Club was to bring business leaders into a safe space where they could meet away from the press. There might be deals taking place or meetings between friends, and because they are from large companies, meeting in public might draw unwanted attention. Second, we want to gather decision-makers, so most clients are CEOs, chairmen/women, or business owners. To put it simply, the meetings here shape Kuwait’s economy. This happens in our private club with limited access to our members and their invitees. We cater to the exclusive community and provide for their business and leisure needs. For example, they can rent the facility for a small wedding or host a birthday party.
How do you plan to bring more value to the Chairman’s Club?
We have developed new standard operating procedures within the CCK. We are identifying clients’ needs without them even asking. Once they walk in, we know who they are, what to put on the table, how to set up the meeting, and how they want to be addressed. Some of our clients require a private meeting and do not want to be disturbed, not even by the waiter. They want to walk in, place an order, and be left alone. We have developed a standard to know our clientele. On the kitchen side, we have also raised standards on food safety and upgraded machinery and training. There is also ongoing job training; all our employees can access two yearly courses. Completing the training, employees get promoted.
How are members of the Chairman’s Club selected?
We look at what they have done for the community or how they have succeeded in their business. Our community consists of various industries, and we cover almost every sector in Kuwait. When adding a new member, we ensure they fit within the CCK community. They could be successful at their business but might need to fit in with what we are building here.
How do you plan and bring value to events?
We used to wait for an event to happen, or our members would inform us of events they wanted. Now, we are taking the initiative to create events throughout the year and have planned monthly events for 2023. These could be a seminar, an art gallery, or a private viewing of exclusive jewelry or watches. Sometimes, we bring globally recognized speakers to host a talk and meet the Kuwaiti elite. They know that when they come here, they meet the decision-makers in the Kuwaiti business sector.
Do you offer anything for youth and future leaders?
We host youth programs to shape how our young leaders think and plant the seeds of entrepreneurship. Instead of having them focused on just their careers, we also want them to focus on building up themselves. This is how we aim to shape the future. This will require persuading the government and the private sector to utilize their skills in new businesses that cater to the country’s needs. We plan to host youth events related to the Chairman’s Club or within our KIPCO group of companies. Entrepreneurs are another focus area, and we can teach them how to identify numbers and read between the lines of financial statements to understand where they should enter and exit a market through our ongoing events that might include these activations that benefit our economy.
How do you envision the Chairman’s Club evolving in the long term?
We are focused on evolving the concept of the Chairman’s Club from strictly business to business and leisure. That change will require significant effort via events and word of mouth. In the long term, our goal is for the Chairman’s Club to be where new strategies or visions for the country are developed and executed. We want to be where the seeds for big ideas are sown and applied all over Kuwait.