By Hosam Kateb
From gift shop to dining powerhouse.
“The customer trusts us to give them their money’s worth, we can’t break that trust.”
Hayman Binjaby’s passion for her family business is palpable. Despite working in the restaurant business for the better part of three decades, the gleam in her eyes hasn’t dissipated one bit.
Opening Al Shurafa right before the current restaurant boom in the Kingdom, the matriarch of the Kaki dynasty looked risk in the eyes and never blinked. Initially established as a gift shop with a coffee shop attached to it, Al Shurafa gradually grew to become the powerhouse of fine dining it is today.
Hayman believes that the success of Al Shurafa is due to her personal touch and keen attention to every detail – nearly all the dishes served are made from recipes she makes for her own family, and the recipes that are not her own, go through personal approval from her. She focuses on ensuring that the best ingredients are imported to maintain high quality and taste, and the best chefs from around the world are brought in.
“I won’t serve any dish that I won’t feed to my family. The customer trusts us to give them their money’s worth; we can’t break that trust.”
Her involvement goes far beyond the dishes; the interior design is also Hayman’s idea. Her efforts are evident in the taste and presentation of the dishes, but also in everything leading up to the actual dining.
Hayman believes that evolution is key to any successful business. Al Shurafa stays relevant as it explores all the trends in the dining industry. As she passes the reins to her son Bandar, who manages the daily operations of the restaurant, she makes sure the same level of care and dedication to the business is present. “In any business, you have to know what you’re doing. You have to make sure you understand everything about the business before making any decisions, and you must always be up-to-date with your industry.”