‘Think Small, Dream Big’

Many potential restaurateurs believe that the cost of starting their own business is prohibitively high. That doesn’t have to be the case though. Not every restaurant, cafe, coffee shop or juice bar has to cost a fortune to open; there are ways to launch a food & beverage business without sacrificing quality or service, as countless Dubai entrepreneurs are now discovering.

The fact is that sometimes, in order to go big, you need to think small. So instead of hiring a top-flight restaurant design company and completely gutting a large, expensive space, you can, if you’re clever, skip all of that and test out your concept without shelling out big money. For ultimately, you’ll succeed because of the food and drink; customers do not come back because you have invested enormous amounts of money in your business – they come back to eat the food.

This enlightened approach has really caught on in Dubai, with an increasingly number of entrepreneurs – many of them young – thinking smart, starting off in a small way in order to see if their concept works. If it doesn’t, the loss has been minimal, but if it does the sky is the limit!

It is true that a small outlet with a small kitchen limits what you can offer on the menu, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, maybe concentrating on just two or three products, yet doing them extremely well. A small coffee shop, for example, may offer only three or four different drinks, but the sheer quality on offer can make it stand out from the crowd … and have people queuing around the block. Taking just a single ingredient and turning it into something genuinely special can be a sure-fire way to success and rapid growth.

Indeed, if customers are receptive, revenue from the initial outlet can fund a gastronomic empire, with many business people in Dubai now establishing low-cost food & beverage enterprises with the express desire to franchise it once it has taken off. And this could mean a string of grand openings from Bahrain to Riyadh and onto Muscat, for if a concept is successful in Dubai there is a good chance it will thrive right across the Gulf region.

Great things almost always start small – you often need much less to begin than you might think!

  • By Bilal Al Halabi, Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment www.al-halabi.com


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