What you need to know before opening a restaurant

I soon discovered that having a good menu was not enough to run a successful restaurant, says Maha Jawed, owner of Easy by Fatso, a restaurant in Karachi made popular by its delicious doughnuts.

Whether you visit in the daytime, or right before it closes (around midnight), you’re likely to find the hip cafe bustling with young patrons that can afford to be more relaxed about food choices. After all, it’s not called a “carb factory” for nothing. But it attracts Karachi residents of all ages, the younger ones just happen to outnumber the others – as 2017 census data on age tells us.

Easy has been around for less than a year and has created quite a buzz. The fact that Maha had already been running a successful catering business [Fatso] for six years prior to Easy’s opening, played a significant role in the making of the restaurant, as well as the expectations people had of the food. But running a restaurant was more difficult than Maha initially expected. Her interview contextualises the challenges and triumphs for food entrepreneurs catering to a demanding subset of Urban Karachi. Her candid advice: If you don’t have what it takes to hustle day in and day out, then you’re not cut out for this business.

Watch this insightful interview with the young chef and food entrepreneur where she talks about how her privileged background has contributed to her story (00:30); the growing popularity of Easy doughnuts (03:36); challenges of running a restaurant in Pakistan (04:57); and advice for aspiring restaurateurs (06:24).