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Perhaps you already know of his hospitality ventures, but now Raed Dabbous has another enterprise up his sleeve: Bespoke Ride, a bicycle studio and endurance center. Shortly after doing a Master’s in International Management in the U.S. and starting a career with FedEx, Dabbous says his “inner entrepreneur skills” motivated him to start his own business ventures- and quite successfully too.
Along with business partners, in 2000, he launched Sho Cho, a modern Japanese restaurant and lounge; in 2009, Loca, a Mexican bar and restaurant; in 2013, Chez Sushi, a fast-casual Japanese dining concept; in 2014, Flooka, a Mediterranean seafood restaurant; and in October last year, Dabbous launched his bicycle studio.
Dabbous, whose personal interests include fishing, riding and training for cycling events in the UAE, saw the passion for cycling and triathletes globally and in the UAE, and yet there was a lack of facilities to support riders in improving themselves.
Dabbous says this was his motivation in opening Bespoke Ride, and points out that whether you’re a beginner or aspiring pro, the facility aims to aid a rider’s technique and understanding of the sport. Noting the growing sporting industry in Dubai, Dabbous says he believes the sector has a low barrier to entry, adding that “you need to be a first mover, with a new concept or trend to make an impact.”
From a sports training perspective, Dabbous regards that though the environment or design can be replicated, the studio focuses onboarding expert coaches with decades of experience to train athletes for optimal performance.
On the business front, Dabbous says the facility’s objective is to work with coaches with skills that complement one another, in line with offering appropriate styles for different sets of athletes with various abilities. “We know that not everyone aspires to be a professional athlete, but we believe that everyone deserves the same professional level of service and guidance.”
And to ensure efficiency in his ventures, Dabbous says it’s all about keeping a look out for new opportunities, trends and customers’ needs, while being realistic about their business goals. With respect to the businesses he has launched, Dabbous is still modest, stressing that his biggest resource has been learning from people and learning on the job.
His biggest lesson from his endeavors thus far? “That no matter how much of a slam dunk of an idea it is, to put it to life [sic] and get it to gain acceptance is another story altogether.”
How do you balance running your ventures that are across different industries?
As we operate across several industries, it can be challenging; however, I am blessed to have an incredible partner who helps oversees the food and beverage part. Our management teams have been with us for over 15 years and are an intricate and crucial element to the success of running such operation. We hope to achieve the same with Bespoke Ride and our team.
How do you overcome the pitfalls in your industry?
The biggest pitfall is the timing to get a project to open and to get the appropriate licensing, locations and align rent in a matter that you’re not overstretched prior to opening your doors. Overcoming those factors is based on experience and luck. New concepts are more difficult to align and cost more because of the licensing requirements and having to explain concepts and finding appropriate activities to describe the concept.
What would you say is the region’s biggest challenge for entrepreneurs?
Receiving funding in this region can be a huge obstacle, and a challenging part to overcome/succeed in. The next biggest challenge is that as an entrepreneur, you are responsible for your employees and their living costs. It’s a challenging part of running a small business and employing an experience team.