What made a b2b meat supplier with no marketing to the public explode into a highly sought-after b2c butcher and delicatessen? The answer is quality – quality so notable that word of mouth took on a life of its own. We spoke with Abdalla Al-Muzaini, Prime Cuts’ Marketing & PR Director, about the surprising and amazing journey Prime Cuts has taken over the past 13 years, and how it is continuing to operate in this new and trying global chapter.
Established in 2008, Prime Cuts Gourmet Delicatessen has raised the bar for fresh, fantastic meat in its country. These experts in good meat operate in Kuwait but are in the process of looking to expand into its neighbouring GCC Countries. The company only serves high-end meat, all of which is sourced from Australian supplier Stockyard. No one does barbecue quite like Australia, and we’re not just talking about throwing shrimps on the barbie: if you want a high-scale meat experience, Australia offers a top-tier of flavour and expertise unlike anywhere else. This is what Prime Cuts quickly realised when establishing its meat source, as Abdalla told us:
“When we first started Prime Cuts back in 2008, we actually had meat from New Zealand, the US and Australia. After a couple of months, we identified that Australian meat was of the highest quality. That’s when we decided that we would be sticking to Australian meat as our core offering.”
Whilst it takes expert butchers to identify and properly cut and portion this meat, Abdalla was insistent that Prime Cuts cannot take credit for the standard of the meat itself – this credit must go to Stockyard. It is this private farm that breeds and cares for the cattle, supplying companies around the world with beef in the Angus, Wagyu and Kiwami varieties, and everything it supplies Prime Cuts with is 100% halal.
Whilst the meat’s standards begin with the work at Stockyard, however, it is down to Prime Cuts to portion, prepare and handle this meat correctly. On top of this, Prime Cuts took a risk within its market when it opened, and it was this risk that launched it to the popularity it now holds: in 2008, Kuwait’s meat was all sold frozen, with no fresh, chilled meat on the market. Introducing this new option was a gamble, as Prime Cuts did not know how it would be received, but it was a shot that paid off. Abdalla told us about the company’s reception in its early days:
“When we initially started Prime Cuts, it had a business model focused on b2b. We did not have a b2c model in mind. When we launched, we started supplying a very big name here in Kuwait – a restaurant that is known worldwide as a steakhouse. That’s when people started realizing, ‘Ok, I’m enjoying my burger/my steak at this restaurant. Who is it supplied by?’ So, people started asking questions and calling Prime Cuts. Then, one person asked whether we provide meat for their private barbecue function at home? That’s when word of mouth came into play; people at the function went crazy over it.” Word started to spread that Prime Cuts was the place to get meat for yourself and your private events – a business model the Prime Cuts team hadn’t planned for. “They’d come into our showroom: we did have lovely interior design, but at the end you were just walking in to find chillers and a cashier. We didn’t have an Instagram, we didn’t have a website, we didn’t do marketing, because we had only been b2b. When we realized that word had spread out, we started revamping the look and feel of the showroom, enhanced it with more products and condiments that go along with cooking meat, and that’s when we shifted from being a pure butcher to a delicatessen.”
Ramping up both its offerings and its marketing, Prime Cuts became a one-stop-shop delicatessen with everything you need from artisanal cheeses and condiments to even buns to grills, with an active Instagram and a whole new approach. Its condiments are all supplied by Stonewall Kitchen, an American company, whilst its meat has remained firmly Australian. As well as supplying burgers and steaks, its main focus, it also supplies lamb, and in March this year, it just launched a line of cold cuts including beef, bacon and pastrami.
So, what’s the deal with these stand-out steaks? Prime Cuts sells steaks that are defined by two categories – the cut and the grade. The three cuts on offer are: tenderloin fillets, sirloins and rib-eyes, but the grades are where it gets more complicated. First there is ‘gold’ grade, and above this are three levels of Wagyu (red, silver and black), and then the final step beyond these, the Kiwami. These grades are determined by the meat’s marbling score; aka, how many fine veins of fat run throughout the meat. This isn’t the thick kind of fat that can make a meal chewy; on the contrary, these fine veins of fat will disappear whilst the meat is cooked but help to keep the meat juicy and flavorful as it’s prepared. Therefore, the higher the marbling score, the better the final taste.
Prime Cuts still supplies restaurants and other businesses b2b, but given the popularity of its b2c services, it has invested in taking this side of its operations further. As well as the delicatessen, the company still supplies meat for private functions, and it goes one step further – it will send a barbecue chef to tend the grill for you, too. To improve upon this popular feature, the company has invested in a new state-of-the-art catering station from which the chef can work, freeing hosts up to mingle with their guests whilst the company caters your party, big or small, from gardens to palaces.
However, due to the coronavirus that has swept the globe and drastically affected people’s way of life, this side of operations has taken a sudden hit. No social gatherings mean no catered functions. Like many countries, Kuwait has also ordered the closing down of its restaurants and hotels, which means that Prime Cuts no longer has b2b orders to supply. All over the world, this virus has had a sudden and significant impact on both economies and individuals, but Prime Cuts isn’t growing disheartened. Whilst some avenues of business have closed for now, the delicatessen has seen a sudden boom in customers looking for supplies of high-grade meat. Prime Cuts introduced Do It Yourself (D.I.Y) packages to continue serving homes for their cooking experience.
Well timed with this unexpected series of changes, Prime Cuts has also been working on developing its eCommerce. As well as planning to expand its delivery fleet, the company has been developing a new website and app that allow for easier online ordering, as well as tracking order progress. “Unfortunately, we were targeting end of Q1 to have all of that eCommerce website and phone applications ready, but given the circumstances today, the process has been slowed dramatically.” This is a frustrating delay, when eCommerce, and especially food delivery, is suddenly in such high demand. However, Abdalla still predicts that this new website and app will launch together later in 2020, further allowing Prime Cuts to serve a need and keep following the shift in demand during this unusual time.
In the meantime, the company’s reputation and its one-stop-shop set-up makes it an ideal place for people to gather supplies for their meals – particularly when looking to recreate that ‘night out’ feeling by cooking some top-quality food at home. This is an unclear time for everyone, but good practice and a strong reputation has put Prime Cuts in a good position to ride out the storm, and to come back with its new equipment and services in place ready to cater for the celebrations that will no doubt erupt throughout Kuwait once this period has ended.