Indian Restaurants are the New Burger Joints

Post by Mark

biryani

Looks like opening up an Indian restaurant is going to be the next new thing for small Kuwaiti businesses. After the success of places like Namaste and 12 Chutneys, a lot of people seem to be jumping on the Indian cuisine bandwagon. I know of at least 4 new Indian restaurants that are opening up soon with the one pictured above opening up next to Slider Station (where Atari used to be located).

I find this pretty annoying.


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Carriage – Restaurants that don’t deliver now deliver

Post by Mark

carriage

Last month I posted about the new delivery law where restaurants can no longer have a minimum delivery order or charge more than 500 fils for delivery. The law turned out to be controversial since it benefited the consumers but hurt small businesses. Now though there might be a solution for those small businesses who can’t afford their own delivery vehicles, while also being beneficial to us consumers.

Carriage is a new local service provider that delivers food from restaurants that don’t usually deliver. So if feel like pizza from Solo PN or Sweet & Sour Prawns from Peacock? You can now order from them using the app Carriage. Of course the service isn’t free, Carriage charge KD1 per order which isn’t a lot considering you don’t have a minimum order amount to pay or compared to how much some restaurants charge for delivery.

Right now they’re still in the beta testing phase so the app isn’t available yet in the Apple and Android store. They should be launching sometime later this month. If you’re interested in trying out the app before the official launch then visit their website and register for the beta program [Here]


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Magnet Café + Workspace

Post by Mark

magnet

Magnet is a new café that opened up recently and I’ve been meaning to pass by it for sometime now but haven’t had the chance to yet. They’re not advertising it only as a place to eat but also a place where you can sit and get work done or hold business meetings at.

A video posted by Magnet (@magnet.kw) on

They’re located in Salmiya and you can find a map as well as more pictures and information on their instagram account @magnet.kw

Photo from @rimdesign


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10 Years of Choowy Goowy

Post by Mark

choowygoowyclassic

Damn does time fly by fast… Choowy Goowy are celebrating their 10 year anniversary this year. It feels like it was just yesterday when I was sitting on my couch, overweight, munching down jar after jar of their cookies while watching the latest episode of Prison Break. I’m also personally celebrating 10 years of friendship since the owner and I ended up becoming close friends after that back and forth collaboration on the blog. For those of you who weren’t in Kuwait at that time, Choowy Goowy basically started the whole home business and cupcake craze (even though they were never a home business or made any cupcakes). Since then they’ve expanded around the region and opened a number of local outlets including their latest one which they’ll be opening this Wednesday next month in Promenade. I told them they should temporarily sell their cookies with their old original branding (pictured above) just for nostalgia’s sake.

I’ve been contemplating for the past few minutes if I should or shouldn’t include a link to my original post and review of Choowy Goowy from back in 2006. I tend to really dislike reading my old posts since it’s kinda like looking through old photos and thinking what the fuck was I wearing?! I ended up deciding that I’d link to the post but just not read it myself. Hopefully it’s not as bad as I imagine it being. Check it out over [Here]

Update: Turns out I misunderstood, their Promenade location isn’t opening this Wednesday but in fact opening next month. But to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, Choowy Goowy are holding an event at their soon to open Promenade location this Wednesday from 6PM to 9PM. Everyone is invited.


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Slice Now on SnappCard

Post by Mark

slice

SnappCard is a digital loyalty card app that I’ve previously posted about on the blog. They’ve been adding new restaurants since they launched but since my friend is running the app in Kuwait, there are two places I had been nagging him from the start to include in it, Elevation Burger and my favorite Döner kebab place, Slice. These were the only two places I went to that had loyalty cards and because I don’t keep the cards in my wallet, I sometimes don’t have them on me when I visit them. Since last week though Slice is now part of SnappCard and their offer is actually pretty good. Previously after 7 orders you would get a free sandwich but now all you need is 6 orders and you get a choice between a Slice box (carbs free option which is what I take), a Rice box or a combo (sandwich, fries and drink).

snappcard

While we’re on the subject of SnappCard, Poêle, one of my favorite lunch spots is also in the app. If you haven’t heard of SnappCard before, check out my previous post on it [Here]


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Eggcellent Breakfast

Post by Mark

eggcellent

Since we’re on the subject of breakfast today, I just found out about a new breakfast delivery place called Eggcellent that opened up last month. I haven’t tried them out but based on the photos their sandwiches look pretty appetizing. They deliver from Sunday to Thursday, 6:30AM to 2PM and Saturdays from 7:30AM to 3PM. Their instagram is @eggcellentkw

via @theculinaryquest


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Cocoa Room New Menu

Post by Mark

cocoaroom

One of my favorite breakfast and brunch spots just updated their menu this past weekend. Cocoa Room has been my go-to place for years but their menu really hasn’t changed much since they introduced their breakfast menu. Now they’ve added a bunch of new dishes to the menu which I’m going to have to start going through one by one and trying out. They’ve started posting some of their new creations on their instagram account which you can check out [Here]


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How the New Delivery Law Will Hurt Small Businesses in Kuwait

Post by Mark

law

A few days ago I posted about how a new law came out stating that restaurants could no longer place a minimum order amount on deliveries and how the maximum they could charge for delivery is also just 500fils. As a consumer I think thats fantastic news but as a business order and specifically a small business order this could signal doom. I had long heated discussion with a friend of mine on Facebook and later offline on this very subject. My friend is one of the co-founders of Al Nata, a brand I’ve posted about on the blog a number of times. They’re a small business, a startup basically and this new law will be causing them a lot of issues. I was originally going to write about their perspective but then decided to let them do it themselves so I invited my good friend AJ to post about it himself. This is what he sent me:

I’m not sure if you’ve recently seen news of a law that was passed on the 10th of April and enacted on the 17th of April.

The Law, in its first article, states the following:

“Delivery charges –
Within the town of the restaurant 0.250 KD
Outside of the town of the restaurant 0.500 KD

Minimum order amounts will not be allowed on meals or single items. Delivery must be done according to the rules above.”

It has a few other articles that are reasonable, but it’s this first one which I believe to be unreasonable.

First a little background on myself. I’m a budding entrepreneur with almost no key money. I don’t have a family office I can withdraw funds from at leisure and as such predicated my entire business model on hard work and financial projections that I update on a daily basis and continue to tweak to ensure I can manage my cash appropriately until I break even.

I have been operating for almost a year now, and recently I’ve been able to just about touch the horizon of break even-Dom. Ah yes, the fabled land of not having to worry about whether or not you’ll have enough cash to pay your rent and employees.

A big part of seeing this horizon has been based on my restaurant’s ability to attract orders on a daily basis to supplement direct cash injections into the company that I regularly make from my own day job salary. I was able to accurately model the income and growth of these cash deliveries by building my model according to a fixed minimum order amount when I make a delivery.

Here’s the best part. As any startup will attest, it’s physically impossible to make all deliveries ourselves on a daily basis with just one driver and a car. As such we have two solutions:

1- Pray to our lucky stars that we somehow find enough cash lying around to pay for more drivers and cars. (Oh, and that’s if we can get more drivers on our Shu2oon documents, but let’s leave that for another day).

2- Contract a third party to do our deliveries for us at an exorbitant but necessary price.

Naturally, being the pragmatic fellow I am, I went for the latter, though on occasion my partner does leave a few offerings for the cash Gods to somehow rain upon us. He’s a believer though.

Anyway, we began looking for perishable delivery services with as quick turnaround as possible ( ps quickest turnaround available is an hour from placing the call, which is why restaurants delivery times on Talabat are normally one hour or more – yes, a lot of us use third parties). Once we got a shortlist, we started using them to find someone that can stick to a schedule.

No trials come free of course, so this is out of pocket money to make sure we can deliver on time before we even start delivering.

Here’s the kicker though:

Price per trip within the first 6 ring roads?
2.500 KD – 3.000 KD

So before we even start preparing your order, I’ve already paid 2.500 to 3.000 KD of your order amount to this third party.

Let’s assume I’m a brilliant negotiator and got the 2.500 KD per trip rate (ps – I am…)

So here I am looking at your order for let’s say 3.500 KD of food.

In order for me to make money on this order, I’m going to have to make sure your ingredients and the labor cost to make it cost are equal to or less than 1 KD.

Let’s assume I’m Superman and somehow make the above work (hint: it’s pretty impossible if you’re using quality ingredients and quality staff).

So now I’ve got 2.500 KD delivery cost and 1.000 KD ingredients AND labor/staff overhead costs rolled into one.

That’s a total of 3.500 KD in this best case scenario in costs.

If I have to follow this new law without placing a minimum order value on deliveries, I have broken even on this delivery. I have not made not lost any money.

And maybe for some that’s all well and good (honestly it isn’t good…for anyone), in which case they’re simply fulfilling orders for people without any gain.

And actually they’ve lost something even more valuable, the time they had to spend fulfilling an order that made them no money. So this break even model assumes there’s no inherent cost for time…

And that, my friends, is bogus.

If time had no value, your sitting at a desk doing nothing on some days should by default also equate to no pay. And yet you do get paid, because your employer understands your time has an implicit value that you have contracted to and seek to honor.

In the above scenario, my business breaks even on your order and loses the implicit value of time spent painstakingly preparing your order. But we get no recompense because we are a seller in a supposedly free market that you buy from.

But this market isn’t free at all, because all its done is protect the consumer’s right to eat whatever they want whenever they want (which mind you, isn’t really a right at all).

So here I am, looking at this law and thinking about how I can work as a business moving forward.

I can’t predict cash flows any longer from my orders. My bills are piling up, and I can’t get cash from banks or funds. I’m pretty much staring down the barrel of a gun, and my government has decided to pull the trigger.

Good bye, and good luck,

Signed,
Ahmad Jafar (Al Nata Co-Founder)

Ahmad has already submitted a letter of grievance but he’s certain they won’t hear it without other parties being a party to the grievance claim. So Ahmad’s asking anyone that owns or runs a restaurant that feels this law will negatively impact them to contact him directly to create a union or class action filing of sorts. To get in touch with him you could contact him on europatekuwait@gmail.com


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No More Minimum Order Amount for Delivery

Post by Mark

minimumorder

A new policy was introduced this month by the Ministry of Commerce stipulating that restaurants can no longer have a minimum order amount for delivery. They’ve also added that delivery charges can also not exceed 250fils if the delivery location is within the restaurants area and 500fils if outside it.

I know from a friend of mine who has a business that they’re not too happy about the change but from a consumer point of view this seems like good news. Talabat has already started contacting all the restaurants letting them know of this change but a lot still have a “Minimum Order Amount” in place. According to Talabat “it will take a considerable amount of time for the remaining restaurants to adhere to this new regulation.”

I rarely order delivery so not sure how bad the charges are or the minimum order amounts but I’m assuming they must have been ridiculous for them to create this new policy. I tried to find an English (or Arabic) source for this news but I couldn’t so if you find one let me know so I can link to it.


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Five Guys Opening Soon

Post by Mark

fiveguys

They’re supposedly opening sometime in May or June across the street from Al Shaheed Park in Al Tijaria Tower. They brought down their hoarding today so May or June seems plausible.

Update: The hoarding is still up, the shot was taken from inside it


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