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Growing the Yum Yum Tree!

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He is young, dynamic, promising and has a dream to follow with his heart. Meet Omar Bukhowa, the able son of Dr Adel Bukhowa who picked up the baton of Yum Yum Tree, the first food court chain  in Bahrain, from his father and growing it beautifully!

What brought you to start up an independent restaurant venture? Did you think of making it a franchise right from the beginning?

My father began Yum Yum Tree back in 1995 as he saw there was no food court in Bahrain. After travelling to the far east and to the west, he noticed that the successful concept of a food court was nowhere to be found in Bahrain. So he set off to provide Bahrainis with a wealth of choice at a one-stop food court with multiple cuisine options. As time went on and the restaurant increased in popularity, the franchise began to blossom.

Yum Yum Tree has been around since 1996? How has it evolved since its  inception? Give us a rough pen picture.

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Yum Yum Tree originally began as a single restaurant concept that opened its doors in Hoora in 1996. Then, Yum Yum Tree began expanding across multiple locations in Bahrain before it made its debut in Qatar and the UAE. The concept itself has been preserved since its inception, but the number of locations and branches has widely expanded.

Please mention some wards /recognition that Yum Yum Tree has acquired so far.

Yum Yum Tree is widely recognized as the first food court in Bahrain. It was also one of the first in Qatar 15 years ago and in the UAE 20 years ago. It is among the top 5 QSRs in the GCC.  It has won several awards from governmental, non-profit, press and other businesses for its food quality, affordability, customer service, and more.

How is Yum Yum tree different or unique from others in the same business?

Yum Yum Tree is unique in regards to its wealth of choice that allows room for flexibility and change to meet customer demands. Considering its large portfolio of 21 brands, the restaurant change is still able to adapt to the changing market and provide a wide range of different offerings to its loyal customers.

What have been the major challenges in your path of success so far?

We have had to force ourselves to take challenges and not be afraid of failing. It’s all about putting your efforts out there and taking risks in the name of passion and drive to grow your business.

What are the basic qualities an individual needs to take the bold step to start up something on their own?

The most important quality to have is a fixed vision. It’s important to constantly work towards that goal each and every day. It’s not about one huge tasks, but a million small steps every day that are all directed to your vision. So a strong vision and relentless passion are the two crucial factors to entrepreneurship.

Where do you see Yum Yum Tree in the next 5 years?

We hope to develop the brand further in Bahrain, Qatar and UAE. We also realize the great potential in the Saudi market and hope to penetrate the market and open new restaurants there. We also hope to continue improving ourselves to be in line with top notch services, quality, products, etc.

What kind of help and support do you seek to help reach your goal?

It’s crucial to have a good strong team behind you to help work towards a common goal, and share and exude the same passion.

Is it important to be qualified in the hospitality/F&B industry to start up a restaurant business?

It definitely wouldn’t hurt to be extra knowledgeable about your industry in question. However, I don’t feel that it is absolutely crucial. As long as you have the passion and the drive, you can figure things out yourself.

What is your message to budding entrepreneurs in the country?

I think we are very lucky to be in Bahrain where entrepreneurship is so highly regarded and widely respected among citizens. I think people should seize the opportunity to start up a business and take advantage of such a budding economy and loyal customer base.

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