April 5, 2019 |
I founded Mantoushe in 2015 and the idea for the brand came about when I was in NYC. There is something magical about the energy of New York; I felt like I could do anything. As soon as I was back in Dubai, I started working on building a concept that didn’t compromise on time OR quality and instead made sure you could have both! There was a lot of science behind the development of the processes behind this; how do you make everything fresh to order FAST?
The Lebanese Fusion of the flavours is also a very important pillar of who we are; making Mantoushe accessible and familiar to everyone and at anytime. You don’t have to be Lebanese or even speak Arabic to understand anything on our menu. We’ve taken ingredients that are global and fused them with the traditional to create food that is not only unique but extremely cravable!
1. What led to your decision to open this business?
I answered a little bit of this question in the intro above. Honestly I was tired of having to choose between time and quality; if I wanted food quickly, it would almost always leave me feeling bloated and sleepy. If i wanted quality it would take time or be inconvenient to deliver. Once I knew I wanted to build a brand that served what I like to call “real food”, I started to ask myself ok, how are we going to differentiate ourselves? What is going to set us apart in terms of flavour, vibe, look and feel?
2. What were the three biggest obstacles along the way and how did you overcome each one?
The first branch’s construction period: this was by far the hardest phase of the business because as a future restaurant owner, it’s not what you originally set out to do. I don’t think I expected myself to learn about the drainage sloping, hood flow and tiling. And because of who I am, I delved into every detail of every inch and tried to plan for an operation that so early in the process, I didn’t quite know yet.
The criticism: The first year was hard; trying to hear feedback or criticism and not curl up in bed afterwards was something I developed. I care very much about making sure we go above and beyond our customers’ expectations and when someone wasn’t happy it took me a while to learn to separate the emotion out of my reaction and instead be objective.
The ups and downs: Even when you go through the rollercoaster that is a business owner’s life, you have to make sure to always have one front with your team, your customers and the world and that is one of optimism, determination and strength. I can safely say I have worked hard to make sure that front becomes my reality because at the end of the day, this too shall pass, and because I believe in us, I know it will pass onto success.
3. What were the three most rewarding moments?
The first day we broke our breakeven sales point.
The first interview I ever gave where I got to talk about Mantoushe.
The pride on my family’s face when they first walked into the branch!
4. What one piece of advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs?
Determination, strength and optimism in everything you do!
5. What are your thoughts on the future of F&B and the industry?
I think F&B is going through a very exciting time; there is so many new things happening on a global front that makes me very optimistic about the potential of good brands. The world is doing so much in terms of incorporating tech & AI into restaurants; making the product more consistent and the entire process more seamless. The growth of cloud kitchens, virtual brands & new platforms to order from also opens new doors to creative thinking and a much cheaper way to test your concept! Im excited!
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