With an outnumbered Emirati population and growing influx of expatriates, Dubai has had to adopt to fresh imports of tastes, traditions and styles. The latest addition at CityWalk last year came with Rice Creamery, an innovative dine in concept inspired by multiple cultures and preferences found worldwide. We sat with the MD of the food group behind this and other successful ventures.
How did you get into the food business, and what was the “aha” moment behind Rice Creamery?
I have been in the food business for over 20 years and that’s after having completed my hotel management education. The”aha” moment came when a friend (now partner) in the business had the idea but lacked the “know how” or the where to attain financial backing. The idea went dead for almost a year then I came back to him telling him let’s do it via GLEE Hospitality.
What was the rationale behind the decision to have the flagship outlet at CityWalk?
Finding a prime location for a new brand isn’t always easy especially if it’s not a franchise. Preferences are always given to international brands. The site came available quiet late in the development of the mall and we jumped on it. Being a neighborhood location with relatively reasonable rent was a prime factor, and it faces the kids play area.
What is your personal philosophy and that of Rice Creamery behind customer satisfaction?
Rice creamery is a simple product which most people are familiar with in one shape or form. The customer most importantly must appreciate and enjoy the product / flavours, after that the rest is manageable. So far the response has been very good, as the flavours have been very well received. In some cases people told us we should increase our prices, which is a good sign of value for money vs quality vs service
How did you navigate the venture capital investment process?
Our financial partner approached us for another project after which we presented RC. She immediately loved the idea, and before you know it we had the location secured and we started the recipes trials
When can we expect to see franchises of Rice Creamery cropping up all over UAE?
For the time being we have decided not to franchise in the UAE. We are about to open Abu Dhabi in Dalma mall and soon in Sharjah. We have franchised in KSA , Bahrain and Kuwait.
Should someone be interested to build their own food business, how can they contact you or your team?
I’m easy to reach and quick to respond. They can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call GLEE Hospitality’s office on 04 4503775.