Entrepreneur Diaries: Taste for success
By Fayez Al Nusari, founder and managing director at Dubai-based Mandilicious.
October 29, 2013 9:58 by kippreport
They say that a journey begins with the first step and for me, this was definitely the toughest part of starting my own food and beverage business. Prior to launching Mandilicious, I worked as head of sales and marketing for one of the region’s largest entertainment groups, but my passion really lay with food, particularly the traditional Arabian cuisine that was a large part of my Yemeni heritage and culture.
Launching my own restaurant chain was something that I loved and truly believed in. Once I’d set my mind to it, I was determined to follow my dream, no matter what. Both personally and financially, setting up Mandilicious was a risk and I gave up on a lot to make it a reality.
The goal was to offer the Arabian Peninsula’s traditional slow-cooked cuisine, but served quickly in a fast-food setting. It was launched in food courts across malls to take advantage of high footfall and multicultural customer base. Thorough research was key to ensuring that I didn’t risk everything for something I couldn’t sustain. However, by breaking things down, I knew I’d found a niche in the market; something unique that nobody had tried before and there were no real competitors out there doing the same thing.
My format was simple: A popular regional cuisine in a popular location, with a proven business model. I knew in my heart that it was going to work. That’s not to say people didn’t have their own opinions. In fact, everyone that I spoke with had their own takes on how I should do things and were pretty vocal about it back then. I listened patiently to the positives and negatives, but I stuck with it. I was determined to succeed.
Looking back, it was the drastic change in career direction and disruption to my daily office routine that caused me the most stress (and sometimes still does). Had I chosen to launch a business within the industry I knew so well, the learning curve would have been minimal, however, at the beginning, I had to educate myself along the way.
It wasn’t easy, but finally, after a lot of hard work, research and planning – that even the military would be proud of – my dream of Mandilicious becoming a business that actually makes money and operates successfully became a reality.
Fayez Al Nusari is founder and managing partner at Mandilicious, a restaurant chain that serves the traditional cuisine of Arabia. Launched in 2012, the brand now has four outlets in Dubai, with ten more confirmed in the next 12 months and franchises in place across the GCC region.