Muscat: Riham Al-Maskari is only 20 and she is now juggling happily between her college education and business entrepreneurship to lay a successful path for her future.
She studies Management in Organisational Behaviour for her undergraduate degree but never misses a class session of her studies while managing her restaurant business. She acknowledges that it is hard work to move from one role to another but at the end of a long day, it is all worth it.
“I study Sunday to Thursday but between classes you will find me in my restaurant. Actually, I am always there at the opening time at 9 in the morning when my customers come for breakfast. I am also there in the evening up to closing time at 11 pm,” Riham, told the Times of Oman.
Her restaurant, called STUFF.ed, is located in North Mawaleh catering for people of all ages. It has a relaxing ambience and comfortable seating. Her menu is simple. From a simple burger and French fries for her teenage customers to chicken and lamb chops to older patrons.
But why she decided to go into a restaurant business when most young Omani women go for beauty shops?
“I like food and I always like to cook at home since I was eight. Not only I enjoy eating well prepared food but it is a passion to me. I also decided from a young age to have my own restaurant and I am lucky that my parents supported to set it up for me,” Riham explained.
Riham did not jump to open a restaurant right from the start. When she was 17, she started cooking from home and selling her food to customers who would come and pick it up from her house.
“It was a way of perfecting my cooking skills by practicing to fewer customers and getting their feedbacks. It also helped me to test the market and find out if there was really a market for my cooking. I did it from home for about two and half years until I decided it was the right time to have a proper restaurant,” she said.
In the summer this year, she felt it was the right time to launch her business outdoor and move it to a rented premises. She chose a popular area and right in the middle of a matured neighbourhood.
Riham employs six people in her restaurant but she also helps with the cooking, serving and slipped into a role of a cashier as well to help out. She admits it is hard work considering that she is a student and an entrepreneur at the same time at a very young age. But she is now living her dream of owning a restaurant that she craved for since she was a little girl.
What is her advice to young people around her age?
“Go for it if you love something deep enough. If you have a passion, you will find a way,” she concluded.