Business Profiles

Six Brothers Foodstuff: Anchoring the seafood industry 

A significant name in the seafood industry for 25 years, Six Brothers Foodstuff Co has an impressive roster of clients that appreciate the quality, commitment and expertise that only a world-class operation can offer. 

Founded back in 1982, by Mr. Shereen Zaman, Six Brothers Foodstuff Co (“Six Brothers”) was brought into being with a specific goal in mind – to improve the processing, import, export and wholesale elements of the fresh seafood industry, within a HORECA context. 

To immediately focus on the GCC hotel/restaurant/café sector showed ambition, but as Ayaz Zaman, Procurement & Marketing Manager revealed, without risk, there can be no reward: Immense amount of risk should be involved in every action that you take – playing safe wouldn’t take you anywhere near success.” 

According to Ayaz, this daring approach, when used in conjunction with proven and effective leadership is the key to success, along with careful financial control and a rather unique take on premises use. 

Within one production property there are three separate divisions, each of which has been specifically built and is owned in full by Six Brothers, including the land. By doing this, financial liabilities have been removed from the business premises and further investigation revealed that there are zero liabilities in all other areas too. Ayaz explained the positive impact of such a business model, which has directly contributed to Six Brothers setting itself apart from competitors: 

“Our vast amount of experience and goodkeeps us apart from our competitors and our company operates with in-house funding. We don’t have any liabilities, with no bank services being used to run our operation. Everything is owned by the company, nothing is leased. This gives us an edge in terms of our product pricing to our customers.” 

Naturally seeking to keep everything as ‘in-house’ as possible, the breakdown of divisions starts to make perfect sense. Alongside a staff accommodation area, the first division is dedicated to all office interests and helps to remove distracting administration concerns from the everyday production scene, which is housed in division two. With a daily processing and freezing capacity of 20 tonnes and 800 tonnes of cold storage, this is no small facility, thus it is supported by a suitably large fleet of 12 transportation lorries. Naturally, these are an in-house addition, with trained drivers being just as much a part of the Six Brothers family as those on the processing line.  

Full HACCP and ISO accredited, the Six Brothers production facility is state of the art and it needs to be. Handling a large variety of seafood, each demanding different processing stages, the facility has been designed to allow for optimum productivity and a natural flow between each station and process: 

Our company currently purchases fresh seafood and we process the fish. A whole fish is processed into either steaks/whole gutted/fillets deboned, while prawns are processed as headless skin-on/headless skinless/peeled and deveined. Lobsters are processed as headless tail with skin/headless skinless meat. After the cleaning process, the seafood is blast frozen at -40° until the core of the seafood achieves -28°. The product is then vacuum packed and stored in our cold stores, with a shelf life of one year. We currently carry 38 varieties of seafood products.” 

This might sound like a complicated and all-inclusive list of daily tasks, but when you consider the competitive nature of the clients being served, the need to offer as many varieties and preparations of seafood as possible comes into clear view. From 5* restaurants and hotels to international airports, hospitals and even armed forces, the end users are discerning, to say the least, so there is no room for error or complacency. Moreover, the food industry is always growing, evolving and embracing new competitive elements, so those at the top of their game, like Six Brothers, need to take appropriate steps to stay there.  

In terms of adapting to new standards and customer demands, Six Brothers is facing concerns surrounding environmental and sustainability issues. Ayaz confirmed that this is an area being given a lot of consideration, with close monitoring of potentially industry-damaging practices that are prevalent: 

“First and foremost, the main threat to our industry is pollution. We are dependent on seafood in the sea. The amount of waste that is being dumped in the seas globally is affecting the nature of the habitat and year-on-year, numbers of fish are decreasing.” 

Ayaz notes that irresponsible illegal fishing is a major contributing cause to the issues and while this isn’t something that Six Brothers can eradicate, the company can seek to instil pride and integrity into its own team. Standing at 55-strong, the entire staffing contingent of Six Brothers are classified as food handlers, meaning that mandatory Good Hygiene Practice training has to be completed annually. In addition to this, all processing staff are given QC refresher training, every six months.  

Supporting the staff with regular training allows each person to work with authority and confidence and also improves their chances at promotion, as Ayaz confirmedOur company emphasises promoting from within and our approach is for every person to go through each and every activity on the operation line and have first-hand experience of everything.” 

With responsible operating practices in place, an envy-inducing client book and a small team of professionals that increase their skill and knowledge levels every year, through in-house training, Six Brothers could be in a perfect position for expansion, but Ayaz explained that growth is not a top priority right now. “Due to the global economic repercussions of 2017, we have been very conservative in terms of our expansion plans and activities. Instead, we are taking precautions which will help us sail through the current economic slowdown safely and thus, for now, there are no growth plans. Definitely when normalcy resumes, we will be developing our operation.”   

Measured risk is one thing in the pursuit of success, but having already accomplished so much, now is not the time for Six Brothers to put it all on the line. Instead, the company is taking a more cautious approach, as opposed to rocking the boat, which is exactly what you would expect from an anchor of the seafood industry.