Malak-Al-Habib reveals why there are plenty of expansion opportunities for her healthy café and smoothie concept, @blend, Palm Jumeirah
How has @blend been performing since it opened?
We’re really glad about @blend’s performance so far, although it’s too early to jump to conclusions. We’re building ourselves and our customer database very steadily, and we’re establishing our name as a healthy and delicious food provider. We are seeing an increasing number of return customers every day and have started participating in community events. We have also been increasing our availability to customers through our delivery partners, Deliveroo, Talabat and Food On Click.
What is unique about @blend?
@blend combines three key factors: health, taste and price. Our aim is to provide delicious, affordable, healthy food. If you want to eat something healthy, you shouldn’t be forced to compromise on taste, nor should you be asked to pay a fortune. So far, we believe that our customers appreciate what we are trying to do and they enjoy the variety of choices we have to offer in a welcoming, laid-back, beach-style setting, or through delivery and take-away orders.
What are your expansion plans for the region?
We believe that there are plenty of expansion opportunities for a healthy eating concept such as @blend. We have been talking to developers who would like to bring the concept to their area, as it presents a healthy image to the local neighbourhood, mall or office building. This is applicable both within Dubai and the UAE and other countries in the region as there is a general feeling that the options in the market are very limited when it comes to healthy food and smoothie places. However, we are not jumping ahead of ourselves yet and instead are evaluating our options. We want to ensure that the quality of food and service aren’t impacted.
What have been the major challenges in setting up this concept?
The biggest challenge was finding suitable suppliers for kitchen equipment, furniture, construction contractors, and pre-opening development suppliers. What’s even more challenging is finding good suppliers for your main product, the food. We have to continuously evaluate the quality of our suppliers’ products, and assess their services in order to make sure that the quality of our final product remains high. Cost is also a challenging factor as we are committed to bringing delicious, high-quality products to our customers at an affordable price, which puts a lot of pressure on us to find the right suppliers.