“A mini-museum of the culture of the Emirates”, this was the idea of creating Hashem Al Marzouqi, creating the famous restaurant “Al Fanar” in the country, with the aim of introducing his visitors, residents or tourists. , to the local culture, and although many of his relatives underestimated the idea, but after seeing the project on the ground, their idea changed completely and they became its supporters. According to Al-Marzouqi, he started opening a restaurant in Dubai in September 2011 for a one-month trial period, before officially opening it in October of that year and involving 100 employees, and within three years he managed to open three branches (two in Dubai) and (third in Abu Dhabi), has 310 employees and aims to open branches in the Gulf countries and in the world in a strategic plan for the years 2014-2017.
trade and entertainment
The owner of the Al-Fanar restaurant chain, Hashem Al-Marzouqi, has stated that he has long since returned to trade, as he works in several sectors, the most important of which is the cork factory in Sharjah, which he owns. has run the mechanics sector for major commercial projects and the entertainment cities sector for nine years since 1997. Through it, the first company in the Arab world specializing in theme park construction and has implemented projects since 2000 in Dubai Summer Surprises, Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld.
The owner of the Al-Fanar restaurant chain, Hashem Al-Marzouqi, said that the restaurant has developed a special design for the interior of the restaurant, so that the branches are similar, especially in the classic vehicle at the entrance of the restaurant. , explaining that he asked for a special permit from the Roads and Transportation Authority to close the Jumeirah Beach road for an entire night to lift the vehicle and insert it through the windows by a giant crane.
He stressed that the restaurant tells complete stories about the state, including the lives of Bedouins, the lives of merchants and the lives of visitors.
In detail, Al-Marzouqi told “Emirates Today” the success story of Al-Fanar, saying that “in 2010 (Emirates Today) published a report on the lack of Emirati restaurant from shopping malls in the country, and hence the idea of The creation of a restaurant was inspired as a mini-museum of the Emirates heritage, to acquaint the citizen and foreign visitor with the history of the country and in the design of the restaurant, which was the first of its branches in a shopping center in Dubai. , I was eager for the smallest details about the heritage, to introduce visitors to the state and Dubai, especially to the local cuisine, especially since the food of the Emirates comes from some cuisines, especially from Indian and Iranian.
He added: “Most people close to me underestimated the idea at first, even my father expressed reservations and described it as a risk, as I am a trader and expert in other companies, and restaurants need a different management, but I I chose to implement it and a year after the opening of the first branch I invited my father to visit the restaurant, he commented: If you had told me the idea as you realized it, I would have been the first to support it.
He continued: “Many know limited information about heritage, and most of them have only entered museums once or twice in their lives, and if we go to ask foreigners about science, they may err in its colors and that “It’s our job to spread the Emirates’s legacy and to teach it to members of society.”
Al-Marzouqi continued: “I started planning and studying the project for a period of a year and a half, and set a budget of five million dirhams and studied the history of the state in all its details for a period of eight months. including the buildings and interior design of historic homes, in addition to the popular food and utensils served in them. It also took six whole months to test popular foods that come from family recipes and experiment with them to find their success evaluate among the public “, showing that he asked the best family recipes from members of the neighborhood” Al Freej ”and their acquaintances to get their best and try them and then add them to the food list.
He said: “After we finished tasting the food, we moved to prepare it in larger quantities in the restaurant, but the different quantities we cooked delayed the opening for a whole month in order to try it again.”
He stressed that “cooking is different from other jobs and can not be treated as a mathematical calculation or a rigid science, but it is a mixture of different skills and tastes between people, which makes it impossible to satisfy a segment great for visitors, because the taste of the Emirates and the ingredients of the food vary from one house to another and from one family to another. ”
He added that “there is no wrong or correct formula in cooking, but it depends on specific choices, and some people do not like the change in taste presented, and preparing food at home is definitely different from preparing it in a restaurant, and at the same time varies according to family recipes ”.
He explained that after the opening of the first branch he expected to attract foreigners, but was surprised that the percentage of citizen customers is 90%, while foreigners and Arabs accounted for only 10%.
Al-Marzouqi continued: “From the beginning of the project, it aims to compete with international restaurants and put Emirati cuisine at the top as a brand. So I opened the restaurant in a mall and I did not intend to open it. In a villa, or in a small shop on a street, such as new restaurants. “
He stated: “I am not a chef, but a market trader, and I want to trade the restaurant, and convey the heritage of the Emirates to the largest number of people and visitors, in addition to the new generation of citizens,” he said. that visitors to the country first look for local restaurants and then go to restaurants they know because they want to get to know each other.For the Emirates culture first of all.
He added that “most of the Arab restaurants in the country offer Lebanese food and if excluded from the list, there are no other restaurants serving local food, so his motive was to take up the challenge”, pointing out the lack. of current references to the Emirati heritage and its exact details, but they are kept by the elderly in the family, and food Emirati cuisine is limited to popular cuisines that offer limited varieties of it, and they contain foods from other countries arabe si “mandi”. “.
Al-Marzouqi explained that the restaurant (Al-Fanar) is the first in the country to focus only on popular foods, adding that he has set rules to work in the restaurant, especially since he is not present in the restaurant for long periods , and these rules aim at maintaining quality in the branch.
He added that he has developed a plan from 2014 to 2017 for opening branches in different regions of the world, explaining that within three years he managed to open three branches of the restaurant (two in Dubai and the third in Abu Dhabi) and employed 310 employees as there were only 100 in the first branch.The establishment of the largest branch in Al Ain, with 620 persons. He went on to say that his plan includes opening branches in Gulf countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as the countries applied for the concession to open it, but he refused because it must be owned by the Emirates, stressing that he aspires to open restaurant branches in Britain and the United States by 2017.
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