That new location had gas pumps, which marked the company’s move into selling fuel. Brother’s also moved into selling its now-famous fried chicken, which was unique for its venue.
“It was really something different,” Hamdan recalls. “Back then, they didn’t have that type of food in a gas station. [At first], people did not trust it, but it tasted really good.”
Brother’s Food Mart had a single location for many years, then began expanding in 2001. Today, it has 40 locations in Louisiana that not only sell fried chicken but also po’ boy sandwiches and meat pies, Hamdan says.
Brother’s Food Mart also maintains the level of quality in its famous chicken across its locations. “We’re consistent with the taste, the breading and everything,” he declares. “If you taste something at one store, you’ll taste the same thing at the other store.”
Not only has Brother’s Food Mart earned a loyal following from Louisiana locals, but also praise from celebrities. Recently, “Captain America: Civil War” actor Anthony Mackie mentioned the store on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” while comedian/actor Kevin Hart praised its chicken on Twitter.
“I can’t stop thinking about how good it was,” Hart said in his tweet. “I think I ate 40 pieces over the last three days.”
Hip-hop artist Lil Wayne also held a Brother’s Food Mart cup on a cover for a single. Hamdan adds that people also praise the stores for their service and cleanliness.
Growing Its Footprint
Brother’s Food Mart is in expansion mode, Hamdan says. “We’re in the process of opening another five locations in New Orleans,” he says.
Sometimes the company’s growth can be difficult, Hamdan admits. Although Brother’s Food Mart employs a staff of more than 300, “There’s a lot of challenges finding great people,” he says.
The Big Easy also presents some challenges in finding locations. “It’s real tight on real estate in New Orleans,” he says. “You can’t just grow as big as you want there.”
The company’s reach outside of the city has helped. For instance, “We just opened our fourth store in Baton Rouge, [La.], and we’re looking to grow more in that market,” he says, noting that Brother’s Food Mart is considering opening stores in St. Charles Parish, Lafayette, Laplace and Kenner, La.
Hamdan is proud of the culture at Brother’s Food Mart, which gives each of its locations a sense of autonomy. This results in “all of the managers [acting] like they’re the owners of their stores,” he says. “They treat it like [it’s their property].”
The company also maintains a “family” atmosphere, with a very low turnover. “We promote from within the company,” Hamdan says. “We have an advantage over our competition because people can grow with [us].”
Hamdan also takes pride in his company’s success, which has found it triumphing against majors such as “Popeyes, which was born out of Louisiana,” he says.
Brother’s Food Mart also is confident when it comes to its fuel sales. “We’re not afraid of anybody,” he says. “We know we have something really good.”
He adds that Brother’s Food Mart has won awards since 2011 for its cleanliness from ExxonMobil, one of its fuel suppliers. “Since we started with them as a distributor, we’ve been winning them every year,” he says. The company also is a distributor for Shell.
Hamdan predicts massive growth for Brother’s Food Mart in the future. “We want to have 100 sites,” he says. “Right now, we’re also [implementing] a back office system that will make us grow [further].”
The system will allow Brother’s Food Mart to grow into other surrounding cities and possibly into other nearby states. The system is called PDI (Professional Data Solutions, Inc) and enables convenience, wholesalers and foodservice operations to do business electronically. PDI is built to meet the company’s business needs, allowing it to grow its business.
Partners in Care
Brother’s Food Mart regularly partners with charities, Hamdan says. These include including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Baton Rouge, La., which strives to extend the power and care of its parent organization to the rest of the state.
Brother’s Food Mart partnered with Crescent Crown Distributors to do an annual pin up campaign to help support St. Jude. Brother’s Food Mart started doing this in 2014 and has done it for two years. It also has partnered with Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities.