December 7, 2023

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ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani man who labored for decades as a laborer in Saudi Arabia and is now the operator of a chain of quickly-foods restaurants sees the Kingdom as a “land of opportunities” and urges additional men and women to search for organization options there. 

Additional than 2.5 million Pakistani expatriates are living in Saudi Arabia, operating typically as laborers and low-qualified employees who send dwelling the largest share of the South Asian nation’s remittances. But some, like Abdul Kabeer Shah, are now also hanging it huge. 

Shah, 44, went to Saudi Arabia as a 21-year-outdated in 2000 and for 4 many years labored as an assistant for electricians and plumbers in Riyadh and Jeddah. 

In 2004, he joined a meals chain in Jeddah, quickly learning to make fast foodstuff merchandise like burgers and shawarmas. Just after 4 yrs of doing work there, one of Shah’s longtime Saudi consumers, Dr. Abdullah Eid Saleh Al-Balawi, whom he had befriended at the task and who was amazed with the Pakistani man’s cooking capabilities and perform ethic, made available him the prospect of a life time: to go into the food stuff business with him as a associate in Jeddah. 

Consequently was born the food items startup The Taste, or Al-Ta’am in Arabic. 

Al-Balawi contributed the original money financial investment in the restaurant and introduced Shah on board on a financial gain-sharing foundation. Now, they are both co-entrepreneurs of the meals chain, which has 8 branches. 

“This was a turning issue in my lifestyle. I turned a food items entrepreneur from a laborer, and out of the blue my every month cash flow significantly amplified,” Shah instructed Arab Information in a the latest interview at his palatial dwelling in Islamabad, wherever he was traveling to his family members. 

Right before his fortunes turned in the Kingdom, Shah, one of eight siblings, employed to are living in a modest a few-room home in Landhi, Karachi, and dropped out of college in the eighth quality to guide his father, who worked at a retail store. 

But even as a teen, Shah experienced an eye and a passion for organization. 

“I designed a liking for small business even though working with my father at the retail store,” he claimed. “So, I generally required to established up my personal business enterprise to assist my family.” 

Shah and his Saudi business spouse use around 100 staff at their eight restaurant branches in Jeddah, exactly where the principal goods on the menu are burgers, shawarmas, roasted chicken and pomegranate juice. And though the market place is saturated with this sort of foodstuff items, Shah claimed what manufactured their places to eat distinctive was the use of Asian spices, providing the ubiquitous items a distinctive style. 

“The use of at the very least 16 different Asian spices like chili, cinnamon, ginger, cumin and turmeric in our food items solutions make them exceptional and tasty,” he mentioned. “Our burgers and shawarmas are not only spicy but also have intensive aromas and daring flavors, which our shoppers like the most.” 

Shah’s lover Al-Balawi explained the duo was arranging to develop and open at the very least two extra branches, a single each in the towns of Tabuk and Jeddah, by the stop of the calendar year. 

“We are also doing the job on adding more food items goods in our menu to enhance our profits and develop more job chances for skilled personnel from Pakistan and other nationalities,” he informed Arab News in a phone job interview. 

The business has also lately employed a dedicated social media workforce to digitally current market its business enterprise. 

“We have been working with all modern-day marketing equipment and techniques to enhance our income and gains when equally focusing on the excellent of our items,” Al-Balawi added. 

Fired up about growing his small business, Shah urged a lot more Pakistanis to come to Saudi Arabia and function in businesses and boost remittances to their home state. In 2022, Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia remitted $6.67 billion to Pakistan by formal channels, in accordance to central bank info, the largest resource of remittances to the South Asian country. 

“Do your careers lawfully and remit revenue to your nation by reputable channels,” Shah recommended foreigners in the Kingdom. “It will be effective for equally the place and the folks.” 

Indeed, Shah’s very own story and his increase from poverty to wealth and achievements is no modest miracle. Now, he life in a posh flat in the Al-Adel location of Jeddah and visits his dad and mom in Pakistan at minimum 3 instances a year. 

“First, I utilised to dwell with other laborers in a shared place, and now I have rented my possess luxurious apartment,” he claimed. 

In Pakistan, he has ordered a palatial household in an elite neighborhood, where his mom and dad dwell with his wife and 5 kids. 

“I could not study due to poverty, but I would like my youngsters to acquire top quality education and learning to achieve their goals in existence,” he claimed. 

Commenting on Shah’s achievements, Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Enterprise Council Chairman Junaid Esmail Makda mentioned it was extraordinary, contacting on governments in equally nations to aid entrepreneurs in exploring and placing up joint-expenditure opportunities. 

“Saudi Arabia is giving large financial commitment opportunities for Pakistani businessmen in the foodstuff, market and agriculture sectors,” Makda instructed Arab News, incorporating that the Kingdom delivers uncooked components and energy at competitive costs to aid these types of opportunities.  

“Pakistani businessmen can remit the important overseas exchange back again household from the Kingdom to help enhance the economy in addition to developing position prospects for the nationals there.” 

Standing on the greens exterior his large Islamabad home, Shah additional: 

“Saudi Arabia is a tranquil place and a land of possibilities for businessmen and buyers from across the earth.”