Slider Station and B+F, two upscale burger restaurants in Muscat have changed the landscape of the F&B business in Oman, says Sadiq Mehdi Jawad, director, Mehdi Group in an interview.
Taking calculated risks and bringing something new to the market is the only way to succeed in business, says Sadiq, who owns Slider Station, B+F and Shabestan, three upscale restaurants in Muscat.
“We have set a benchmark in the industry. I think we brought a big change to the Oman market and the burger industry in particular. Many similar concepts started since we launched the slider-themed restaurants,” says Sadiq. Competition is the healthiest thing that an industry can have, as it gives customers the choice to choose the best, he avers.
The family entered into business in 1948. In 1971, the group opened its first branch of Mehdi Store in Mutrah Souq. Sadiq joined the business in the year 2000 and made a foray into restaurant business in 2008. “We signed the first franchise agreement with a Kuwaiti company for setting up B+F road side diner in Bareeq Al Shatti. The restaurant was inaugurated in the first quarter of 2009. Two years later, we started Slider Station, the first conveyor belt burger joint in the world. This totally changed the understanding of burger concept in Oman and today it is one of the upscale casual dining restaurants in the city and a favourite among all age groups. In 2015, we added one more fine dining restaurant, Shabestan, an Iranian cuisine restaurant in Shatti Al Qurum. Shabestan offers timeless taste of True Persian royalty. A new branch of B+F roadside diner will be opened at Al Mouj Muscat soon, he adds.
Talking about challenges facing businesses, he says: “An entrepreneur always has the capacity, willingness, patience and ability to develop, manage and find solutions for his business venture.” Sadiq who is a part of the Entrepreneurs Organisation-Oman Chamber says that he has been a member of the organisation since 2009. Globally there are more than 12,000 members in over 50 countries. The organisation serves as a platform for business owners in Oman for networking, exchange of business ideas and deal with challenges in the industry.
What are the opportunities for business for Omanis in the era of low oil prices? Sadiq says that there are lots of opportunities that are non-oil based. F&B is one of the sector that has ample scope.