We get the lowdown on running cafes with Nizar Aloufi, owner of Dallat Al Faris.
How did you start with the idea of a café?
Successful businesses are the ones that have high demand and are frequented every day. So I decided to invest my time and experience in establishing a traditional coffee shop with modern touches. I wanted it to capture the essence of historic and contemporary Khaleeji life through every element of its design, from walls and ceilings to furniture and utensils.
What is your vision for your business?
A worldwide Saudi brand that serves Arabic coffee and traditional desserts and dates in a luxurious and comfortable atmosphere. We want Dallat Alfaris Café to increase awareness about Khaleeji culture throughout the world and to make our delicious Arabic coffee easily accessible to anyone.
What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Having competitive advantages such as a wide variety of products and great service is our key to keeping our customers satisfied and earning their loyalty. Thanks to dedicated partnerships with creative Saudi entrepreneurs that make delicious traditional sweets, our café enjoys a unique array of exclusive treats and delicacies. We’ve had great marketing campaigns with our partners, including our five-day campaign with Careem and Karak Day, which had proved to be very popular.
What advice can you give to those wanting to open their own café?
There’s no one good formula that guarantees success. Still, keep this in mind: Having a great idea is not enough. You need passion, patience and a positive outlook at all times. Above all else: It starts and ends with hard work and believing in your vision.
How do you juggle your personal and professional lives?
It gets really complicated! I actually have another full-time job in addition to this café, plus I’m married and a father to one daughter. You try to attend to everyone’s needs and dedicate time to each aspect, but it’s not easy and sometimes you have to make sacrifices. It helps to have the support of your family, friends and loved ones. They’ll always be there for you in the tough times and the ones you can rely on for advice and support.
What are you working on right now?
We recently opened our second branch in Al Ahsa and are planning to expand and increase the type of services and products. It’s definitely time to find someone to manage day-to-day operations of the cafes so that I can work on things such as expanding to other Gulf countries and then the international market after that.
What were the three most important things to get your business up and running?
Passion for my vision, patience and good communication skills.
What is one mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
I wasn’t careful in selecting my business partner. That was a very tough life lesson. Now I make sure the people I work with are trustworthy and are the right fit with the right skills.