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The success behind Arabian cuisine - Bringing affordable luxury to Kenya.

Iam Mrs Fadya, an entrepreneur and a home trained mother and wife who has done a number of food industry related management courses and the proprietor, Arabian Cuisine restaurant in the Upper hill business district, Nairobi, Kenya. The resolve to open my eatery was born out of a personal and family experience. While still working in the construction and supplies business with my husband, we quickly realized that getting “the right kind of food” after a long day’s work or during a family outing was almost impossible. After conceptualizing the idea, and with support from my family, I set out to do my research, locally and regionally confident that a gap in the food industry in Kenya had been imminent. I had the ambition and the drive. The year was 2009. The research took a year.

Armed with savings from my previous job and inheritance, I happened upon a site in Nairobi after a rigorous search– previously a mechanic’s ground. By city standards, a slightly expansive uneven dry and muddy ground, littered with panel beaten old vehicle bodies, written off tyres, rims, greasy tattered aprons…the place needed a total overhaul. The cleaning and landscaping begun in earnest.

Affordable luxury
Doing it right from the start was important for me. I had set standards for this new establishment. Firstly, I wanted Kenyans to experience the Arabian hospitality, but at a very affordable cost. I had to bring in an experienced chef from Yemen in my pursuit of getting it right. After settling the menu section, we knew we needed customers to keep the business afloat. Surprising, all our marketing was and still remains 100% word of mouth and referrals from happy clients.

Everyone wants to be treated right. At Arabian Cuisine, we exude the “customer is king” mantra on a daily basis. Free coffee is a must for all our customers – again, a part of the Arabian hospitality. We offer all kinds of Arabian delicacies and most importantly, these are afforded by anyone irrespective of their income strata. Again, great hospitality is key or what can explain customers travelling kilometers from across the city to experience our dishes?

On women empowerment…
Simply put, women empowerment according to me is a deliberate global economic and social empowerment drive that focuses on women. Forgive this very relevant paraphrased cliché – If a woman is empowered, so has been the entire family, the close knitting and wider community. Starting out, I did not have one particular female figure I will say I looked up to but as I progress, I am aware of the changing times characterized by young ambitious entrepreneurs who need guidance and mentorship. As a successful woman entrepreneur, I am involved in many networking platforms used to share experience and disseminate knowledge to peers and upcoming business women.

Challenges
Iam Mrs Fadya, an entrepreneur and a home trained mother and wife who has done a number of food industry related management courses and the proprietor, Arabian Cuisine restaurant in the Upper hill business district, Nairobi, Kenya. The resolve to open my eatery was born out of a personal and family experience. While still working in the construction and supplies business with my husband, we quickly realized that getting “the right kind of food” after a long day’s work or during a family outing was almost impossible. After conceptualizing the idea, and with support from my family, I set out to do my research, locally and regionally confident that a gap in the food industry in Kenya had been imminent. I had the ambition and the drive. The year was 2009. The research took a year.

Women are big on saving and are naturally nurturing hence banks shouldn’t shun them out when it comes to financing them. Although I haven’t really needed credit from financial institutions to run Arabian cuisine, my general recommendation when it comes to financing women would be that they should custom make solutions for this group that shouldn’t be asking for non-existent collateral.

Gulf African Bank has been my financial partner for a long time now. They have been and continue to be supportive of my endeavors as an individual, a business owner and most importantly, as a woman.

Key lessons
Make it a motto to know your business from A-Z, practically so that you can step up when need arises or provide critical guidance when needed.

Your educational background doesn’t matter in business. The drive to do something and the conviction to succeed is more critical.

Customer care is the most vital aspect of any business. A customer informs your entire plan – the quality of your products / services and many other things.

Have a good, understanding financial partner to support you all along.

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