Richard's Coffee Bar Aims To Focus On Coffee, Culture And Community In Kuwait
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This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia’a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.
Started from an idea during a 2015 trip to Belguim, Jarrah B. M. Albuloushi came back to Kuwait with ideas on branding and identity. He then went to train in the art of coffee making and specialty coffee in Berlin, Germany. In 2016, he returned to Kuwait and started building up the brand, launching with its first Richard’s Coffee 90-day pop-up.
The concept proved to be successful, and the brand went on to collaborate with Elevation Burger for its second pop-up. Fresh from that momentum, Albuloushi says this was when he the found the perfect spot for the brand to operate as a storefront, and gradually, started the concept and strategy for the brand, centering on coffee, culture, and community.
The capital from the pop-ups became a source of funds for a small seed round for the enterprise as well, with the brand focusing on providing coffee, as well as on bringing communities together, through the inclusion of artists, streetwear designers, and other similar startup endeavors.
Today, the raw specialty coffee bar provides an array of coffee choices, and supply coffee as a roastery to more than 27 shops in Kuwait, Dubai, and Turkey. The brand’s business model is based on a B2B and D2C basis, wherein the brand supplies coffee beans from their roastery to coffee shops. The company has also built a partnership with Port of Mokha.
As an entreprneurial team, Albuloushi notes that a lesson they have come to learn in business is listening to and taking in the feedback of their customers. For instance, when a customer once commented on not liking the acidic taste in their coffee, this prompted them to consider letting customers try out coffee before actually serving a full cup, and even offer "coffee cupping" (i.e. coffee tasting) in the roastery.
The company is currently raising for a Series A round and seeking to grow further. “We don’t want to be the first, but we want to be the best," Albuloushi says. "Being the first is really nice, but being the best will sustain your business.” To aspiring entrepreneurs looking to dive into the Kuwait market, Albuloushi notes that with the market saturation in the F&B market, there’s a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to look into entering the Kuwat space with a hardware tech solution. “My advice is [to] never give up- everyone has good and bad days, but I learn from the bad days, and improve yourself and your business.”
‘TREP TALK: Jarrah B M Albuloushi, founder and CEO, Richard’s Coffee Co.
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait and why?
"Keep learning, and keep yourself up to date. Ride the wave like a pro surfer, and keep creating your chances to win- don’t wait for it. Kuwait has a great ecosystem today, and I believe anyone can start his idea if he believes in it."