This is the true story of two friends, who graduated from Stenden University with an aspiration to make something of their lives with the education that they had received, and what started as an idea, ultimately, turned into a successful hospitality venture.
The duo recently opened A’la Gourmet & Caf`, one of the biggest Turkish restaurants in The Pearl-Qatar, which has gained a reputation of being one of the leading restaurants to be serving authentic Turkish food in the most elegant ambience.
Qatari Abdulrahman al Mulla and Syrian Mudar Alafiesh met each other in 2006 and became the best of friends. They graduated from Stenden University with a degree in International Business Management and started working in leading multi-national companies in Qatar.
Although work commitments parted the two friends, they met each other over live broadcasts of football matches. On one such occasion, Abdulrahman asked Mudar, ‘What if we start a restaurant together?’
Mudar replied that he was thinking the same thing a day before.
As it was destined to happen, the two friends became partners in a restaurant project and later formed a company called Oryx1.
Abdulrahman, who was working in the banking sector, immediately agreed to take the responsibility of finance, while Mudar, with his operations experience, agreed to take care of that end.
Abdulrahman said,”We travelled the entire world from USA to Europe and from South Africa to Asia in search of collaborators and suppliers and that is how A’la Gourmet & Caf` was born, which was a concept based on authentic Turkish cuisine with an international twist to cater to all palates.
“A’la Gourmet & Caf` is definitely one the biggest restaurants in The Pearl-Qatar with a seating capacity of around 300 and is located at one of the most scenic spots in Qatar, where people can sit inside or outside the restaurant and enjoy their food with a full view of the marina.”
Talking about operational challenges they face due to the blockade, Mudar said,”The blockade imposed on Qatar is totally uncalled for. It didn’t even succeed in its purpose and has caused minimal effect on the economy of Qatar.
“Thanks to the support of the Turkish government, there was hardly any challenge faced by us in this regard. Our Turkish suppliers outside took a very noble step to stand with Qatar and supported it by even supplying items at a reduced price to accommodate the increased shipping costs.
“They went out of the way to offer competitive prices when this blockade was imposed and thus, helped Qatar overcome shortage of milk, chicken and many other food items,” Mudar said.
The seed that was sown over a decade ago and nurtured by friendship, has not only taken root, but is bearing fruit in the form of many more ventures like chicken import. In future, the duo plans to start their clothing line with a Qatari label.