Home PodcastInayet Wadee R350 and a Dream Equals a Recipe for Success

R350 and a Dream Equals a Recipe for Success

by Thaabit Kamaar

What started with R350 and a single pot of food transformed into a lucrative business for a former paramedic.

Zubair Abbas of Surrey Estate and owner of BondsFoodsRylands said it has always been one of his life’s goals to be independent and work for himself.

Someone suggested he sell food, and even though it was not his field of expertise, with his determination and can-do attitude, Abbas decided to try it.

At the beginning of his business venture, he approached a butchery requesting they provide him meat on credit. To which they declined. Having only R350 at the time, he decided to use it as start-up capital and began cooking his first pot of food.

“Within the first week, we sold out in about an hour and a half. From there, it gradually grew … It just went bigger and bigger.”

Abbas said he provides quality food at affordable pricing for his clients as he practices a PQP -portion, quality, pricing- business model.

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Hard Work Pays Off

It took time and effort to nurture the business to where it is today. There were numerous challenges Abbas had to overcome as his business grew.

He said an individual approached him with an opportunity to sell food outside Checkers in Rylands. Having only a single gazebo, he had to make sacrifices to build his base of operations from the ground up.

“I started selling food in front of Checkers from one gazebo. Putting the pots under the gazebo in summer was perfectly fine. Standing outside in the sun was fine for me. But when it came to winter, it was a different story. I had to put the pots underneath, and [I stood] in the rain. It grew into two gazebos, using [the second] for clients … but I would still be raining wet.”

Eventually, the gazebos made way for a carport that shelters not only the pots and himself but also the customers waiting to purchase his food.

Apart from that, there were logistical challenges which presented themselves. Abbas recalled an incident when the transport he arranged could not collect three large pots of food from his home and deliver it to Checkers. He had to load them in his car.

“I had to put one in the boot, I took out the backseat of the car, I put another pot on the back seat, and I put another pot in the front seat.”

Abbas understands the importance of owning a business and the perseverance needed to overcome particular challenges for it to succeed.

What Inspired Him to Pursue a Food Business

Abbas said he chose to enter the food industry because his father and late grandfather were both excellent cooks.

Even though his grandfather cooked for various functions, it was from his father that he learned the family trade by observing.

“My father never taught me specifically. I had to [learn] with the eye. Because whenever I’d ask him, don’t you want to teach me? His words would be, but can’t you see what I’m doing? You know, very old school … My father is my hero, and learning this business from him, I can see the endless light at the end of the tunnel.”

Abbas said older people believe that hard work pays off. A statement that has proven to be true in his experience.

“Nothing comes easy. There’s no secret sauce, magical dust, or something you can sprinkle on.” Time, effort and the belief that anything is possible.

He recommends anybody keen on starting a business should start a business. They should not be concerned with capital or market share. In the early stages of their venture, they should expect losses and challenges, but they should not throw in the towel.

“No business has ever closed from making a small profit”, Abbas said.

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