Mr. Amor Akremi, Retail Operated Network Manager at Total Egypt, talks with Law Today about how this global company works to meet the needs of the Egyptian food & beverage sector.
LT: What is Total’s strategy when it comes to food and beverage procurement and distribution? Are there differences between this strategy at the global level and the strategy for the Egyptian market?
AA: Total is the world’s fourth-ranked international oil and gas company and a global leader in solar energy through SunPower. Our activities span oil and gas exploration and production, refining, petrochemicals, and fuel and lubricant marketing. Total has 17,000 service stations in the world and 5000 in Africa and the Middle East.
Our ambition is to provide the best customer experience though a full range of products and services. A Total service station is a one stop shop where all the customer’s needs are met; and food & beverage is definitely a core component of this.
The global F&B strategy is delegated to each affiliate, which can then determine its own priorities according to specific market features and needs. We always prefer to work with well-established F&B brands, in association with Bonjour, our brand for shop items. So for example in France we have Bonjour and Brioche Dorée that together to the needs of our customers. When this is not possible, we have an in-house brand named Cafe Bonjour.
In Egypt, we decided to offer the best F&B products by combining a local premium food brand, namely TBS, and the best coffee company worldwide, Starbucks.
LT: What are the legal processes you need to undertake to ensure that Total Egypt’s F&B needs and requirements are met?
AA: The consequences of selling unsafe food can be serious, which is why International Standards are needed to ensure the safety of the global food supply chain.
ISO 22000 is our reference point for food safety management and during the process of selecting our partners, as well as the duration of our contracts with them, we organize regular hygiene audits with the help of a specialized company, which inspects, tests and verifies the quality of all the supply chain.
LT: How have recent developments within Egypt affected procurement, distribution and related operations within Total?
AA: We are facing the same issues and constraints as other private companies. We take a very responsible approach with our partners and suppliers, especially when it comes to retail selling prices.
The Egyptian economy has shown remarkable resilience and we anticipate that it will continue to record positive growth, supported primarily by household consumption. Therefore, we remain focused on implementing our strategy and intend to keep our investment plan as it is.
LT: Total has recently entered into a partnership with TBS and we understand from Mr. Sameh El Sadet that this partnership has been successful and will grow. Could you comment on how this partnership came to be established and how it has been mutually beneficial?
AA: Our partnership started three years ago when we decided to open the first TBS store in the Total desert road station as a pilot initiative. The initial results exceeded our expectations and confirmed what we believed from the beginning: that the TBS concept fits perfectly with the traffic we have in our service station. Now we have eight TBS stores within Total stations in the country and this is just the beginning.
Having a shared vision with the TBS management is also one of the main reasons behind this successful partnership. We have always placed quality and the customer experience at the heart of our concerns and initiatives.
A partnership can work only if it’s a win-win deal. In our case, Total benefits from the attractiveness of the TBS brand and concept and TBS is able to enter a new market segment and increase the number of its branches without direct real estate investment.