x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Salad days for start-up with a healthy outlook

The Life: The National last spoke to Mazen Hawwa and Richard Naddaf in the spring as they were preparing to open Richy's. Mr Naddaf speaks now about how the business has been faring since it opened in Jumeirah Lakes Towers in the summer.

Mazen Hawwa, left, and Richard Naddaf, the proprietors of Richy's, a salad bar, located at Jumeirah Lake Towers. Satish Kumar / The National
Mazen Hawwa, left, and Richard Naddaf, the proprietors of Richy's, a salad bar, located at Jumeirah Lake Towers. Satish Kumar / The National

Healthy and takeaway are two words you seldom find in the same sentence, but two entrepreneurs have been aiming to change that with the launch of their salad delivery company in Dubai.

The National last spoke to Mazen Hawwa and Richard Naddaf in the spring as they were preparing to open Richy's. Mr Naddaf speaks now about how the business has been faring since it opened in Jumeirah Lakes Towers in the summer.

The last time we spoke you were almost ready to open. Did you open on schedule?

We did delay. We were scheduled to open at the beginning of June but we actually opened at the end of July. We got our staff on board and we started training them so it was more making sure we had everything in place and that they were very well acquainted with the menu and how to prepare it. So it took some time but we got there.

You are trying to encourage people to eat more healthily but the diet here is not known as being very good. How have sales been so far?

Amazing. Today at this point in time after three months that we have been open we are trying to manage demand. Almost every single day we have from 80 to 120 orders and … sometimes we get big orders like 20 salads and 20 wraps. Saturdays usually are slower because commercial towers around us are [quiet] over the weekend, so it is not as busy. But during the weekdays we are pretty busy.

That's a lot of salads. How many were you selling per day in the first week?

I would say we were doing almost 20 to 30 orders, then it started moving up through word of mouth through the social media, whether it was Twitter or Facebook. Launching our website helped us get people quicker.

Has anyone been asking if you can add chips to the menu?

We take the customers' feedback on specific ingredients that they would like to have. We haven't been getting much on transforming Richy's into a junk place but we do get requests of different ingredients that we don't have on the menu. We get it on an ad hoc basis.

What kind of ingredients are they asking for?

For example, sun-dried tomatoes and some changes to certain salads. Nothing specific or major. They ask about salmon. But nothing is hugely missed, I would say.

You both kept your day jobs in the financial industry, so how are you coping with working at the same time as overseeing the business?

We used to probably spend a bit more time before the opening. But we do have regular meetings with the general manager.

Are you planning on opening other shops elsewhere?

We are studying [the possibility] but at the same time we have to make sure that we have a better grip on the operational processes in this shop.

GDuncan@thenational.ae