Amjad Barakat, Founder, Brunch & Cake
While entrepreneurship can be a fulfilling and rewarding pursuit, it comes with its own set of hardships and challenges. There come moments when doubt, stress, and obstacles come in intense waves, and giving up feels like the only option. Even the most successful entrepreneurs have moments of sinking confidence when a challenge presents itself. But true leaders see these challenges as stepping stones to rise to another level, to test their ability and improve in the process. Learning from their experiences, they consciously prepare themselves to make most of the opportunities and strive to grow as better leaders and decision-makers while creating value for others in the process.
An epitome of such leadership is Amjad Barakat, a seasoned F&B expert and the Co-founder of Flip International, a globally experienced F&B consultancy firm catering to entrepreneurs, restaurants & hospitality businesses. Brought up in an entrepreneurial environment, Amjad was exposed to all business aspects including understanding what acquisitions and mergers are from just the age of 10. Growing up in a family where most of his family members were business owners, Amjad learned to work from a very young age. However, due to the market situation in Jordan, his family businesses faced some roadblocks along the way which caused them to lose most of what they had built. While it was very tough for him to sustain those turbulent times, he never gave up hope and started again from the scratch. “Experiencing this alongside my family and having to start from scratch to recover what was lost is what made me the man I am today. In my opinion, the challenges we face in life are our biggest motivations to encourage us to fight harder and withstand tough times,” asserts Amjad.
The Illustrious Journey with Brunch & Cake
While taking a stroll on the shores of beautiful Barcelona in 2017, Amjad and his business partner Jamal Wick stumbled upon Brunch & Cake, an all-day dining restaurant born in the homely heart of Spain, Barcelona. They were curious to see a long queue of people, extending all the way to the back of the block, while other restaurants in the same street were surprisingly empty. So, they decided to wait and try it for themselves to understand what the buzz was all about. And when they did, it was love at first sight. It took them nothing less than a year to convince the brand owner to speak to them, but they were relentlessly persistent and managed to seal a deal for all GCC franchises! Ultimately, they acquired the brand globally and are currently launching in 5 new countries with a total of 22 new Brunch & Cake outlets. After entering the buzzing Dubai F&B landscape in late 2019, Brunch & Cake quickly won hearts and expanded across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In a highly competitive landscape where home-grown concepts seek acquisition from international partners, they strategically localized Brunch & Cake into a household name and a lifestyle brand that is highly desirable for consumers as well as investors. “In a nutshell, the brand itself embodies lyrical storytelling through its visually pleasing and unique in taste food, and today we are proudly one of the best breakfast concepts around the globe and we hope to grow our appeal in the coming time,” opines Amjad.
Key Attributes of Successful Leadership
Drawing the valuable life lessons from his entrepreneurial journey, Amjad asserts that no business plan can be achieved exactly the way one originally plans, requiring a shift in directions to be aligned with market changes and customer response. Thus, it is ‘persistence’ that leads an entrepreneur on the path to success. He goes on to explain that most entrepreneurs experience failure at some point in their life. So, the key here is to learn from the mistakes, switch gears and continue to persevere till they turn that failure into success. “Agreed that being an entrepreneur is a bumpy ride but it’s also one of the most rewarding – emotionally and financially. My advice to those starting their entrepreneurial journey is to be thorough with research and don’t rely on just your emotions until you have enough experience to lead with your gut. Drop the ego, build confidence and learn to walk on the thin line that makes all the difference between the two,” elucidates Amjad.
Success Is Customer Happiness
Every leader has a unique definition of success. For Amjad, success is when a diner expresses to him how much they love Brunch & Cake and recount how the brand contributes to their beautiful memories in Spain & the UAE. Most diners at Brunch & Cake are regulars and it has a 40 % rate of returning guests which are amongst the highest in the industry. “Our success marker is the love and appreciation we get for our food, ambiance, and of course the beauty of our dishes. I visit the outlets almost every day since I like to keep my finger on the pulse and stay close to the team and operations. In my view, there’s no better way of knowing your brand without personally jumping onto the action ground,” adds Amjad.
Aspire to See Brunch & Cake as a Global Brand
Brunch & Cake started its journey to create inviting environments & wholesome foods using quality ingredients, authentic recipes, and organic produce, all served in generous portions with a promise of ‘Grandma’s Goodness’. Taking this vision a notch higher, Amjad aims to see Brunch & Cake as a global brand with at least 100 outlets globally. Currently, it is at the development plan of 31 and it will continue expanding its footprints to achieve its goal. As a strategic step towards this goal, he also plans to further extend the reach of Brunch & Cake to Asian markets. “The market is huge with very few brands like ours. Our brand, the food, and our visual identity will be a massive winning formula. We are slowly looking to set foot there and are excited for the world to try Brunch and Cake,” concludes Amjad.