Ousman the Restaurateur – Pre and post the BE REEL workshop

Ousman is a chef who wants to run a restaurant and catering business.

Pre training:

Ousman is a trained cook (with pastry as a speciality) and previously worked in hotels for 11 years having left high school in 2005. The salary was very low and he could not make ends meet so has started his own restaurant six months ago in a shop opposite the main market in Gunjur. He says he can provide English, African and Italian food. However, common to most restaurants in Gunjur, there is generally one meal on the menu each day (often chicken). At the time of the interview in 2017 the restaurant is in his words “sit down and takeaway” but it has no tables and chairs evident and the stove is in the same small space as customers are supposed to eat. He started the restaurant with his own savings. He feels he is the only professionally trained chef in Gunjur and through producing quality food can establish a competitive advantage. He hopes to be able to train staff to cook and feels his main problems are with the décor in the shop and making it a safe place to eat. He knows the cost of his main product – Ds725 for box chicken (10Kg) with 21-26 legs per box, which can be sold at Ds50-100 per portion. (Ds1050 – 2600). However, he had no real idea of his other costs. He reflected that the most important factors for his business are determination and love for what you are doing.

Response about his levels of confidence at the end of the training:

– “I am very confident with my business plan which I believe is one of the top restaurants in my community”

Follow up interview 2 months post training:

Ousman reflected that he had previously been a cook for eleven years. The training had helped with costing, and developing his business to include fast delivery and promotion. For example before Ramadan he had developed ideas to have meals ready for delivery at 6pm for families to be able to eat. Being prompt with his delivery times had helped develop the business. Also customers know upfront what they will be charged and so he gets more return customers. He said that now he takes time to work out what to charge so he covers his costs better. He is managing to generate savings now and has opened a business bank account. He mentioned that he had got a contract next month for 40 people, all meals for a fortnight. He intended to get Suka (one of the other participants on pilot one) to design the menu layout for each day so the customer knows up front what they will have to eat. He feels he definitely has increased his customer numbers. He summarized that his business is now about “Tasty food, delivery fast and on time, consistent and well costed”.

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