Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Thinking Of Starting Your Own Restaurant Business?

Thinking Of Starting Your Own Restaurant Business?

In this month’s issue, we cover the 5 steps to starting your own restaurant business, with input from Omar Ajam, founder of Toasted, and Nazmi Dirdunji, founder of Ful21.

Here’s one more tip: You can’t successfully start your own restaurant business if you don’t conduct an in-depth market study.

Steps to Study Your Market

  1. The local economy.
    The current economy is saturated and unpredictable. This, however, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to start your own restaurant business. Study the economy that you’re looking to serve and see whether it’s a good idea to make an investment now, or if its’ better to wait 5 years. There are plenty of questions you need to ask yourself, including whether rent is lower now, are commodities cheaper, and what the history of the Saudi economy is.
  2. The local culture.
    You must know what the market wants and what the other restaurants are currently supplying. There is surely a gap somewhere in the supply, and that’s what you want to provide. And it needs to fulfill these 3 criteria:

    1. A simple concept
    2. Reasonable ratio price vs value
    3. Technology in service
  3. Market review.
    Who’s in the market? What’s happening in the market? Where are they saturated? What do they like? What’s the food market like today? Where is the market heading? Your study of the market must include the consumer, product, availabilities and consistencies, prices, economical changes, historical trends. If it takes up a lot of your time, you’re doing it right. Hire a company to help you if need be.
  4. The competition.
    Who is supplying a similar product? Go to your competitors and evaluate them. Example: what’s on their menu? How much are they charging? What does the interior of their restaurant look like? You have to know what distinguishes you.

Ajam and Durdunji agree that there are 2 kinds of business owners, the experienced and the passionate. The experienced tends to know all there is about a restaurant, inside out. The passionate is more likely to start a restaurant for his love of food and then learn all there is to know through his own restaurant. Which one are you?


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