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  • Writer's picture Ahmed Elkhouly

A Bedouin X-Hotel Chef Grilling Kebabs..

The reason I started this whole trip was to help out; by time you learn things and get insights on where the future is heading. Many of us are ignorant of the powers of social media and digital marketing, specially those who run small scale businesses with an old school mindset. I’ve witnessed first hand how some businesses that lacked the ability to jump on the social media train, lost not only a lot of potential customers, but also forfeited some of their already established clientele to their competition.

All businesses are obligated to maintain a presentable image on social media, it’s even beneficial for them to showcase their products, pin point their location and working hours. This might seem basic information for some owners but the rest still depend on the more traditional ways and focus mostly on maintaining their current customers rather than expand their reach and strengthen their grasp of the market. The mere fact is that almost everybody now a-days either owns a smart phone or has direct access to one. The internet has become the initial gateway to a lot of of purchasing decisions.

Someone had to point it out, someone had to lead by example and show them how it's done, someone had to answer their questions and reply to their fears. It seemed like the right choice so I did. The task was simple, find businesses that are already available on google but have no or unappealing presence on the platform, impacting their image viewed by potential customers. Once a list was created I would talk to their owners and arrange to create pictures of their location, merchandise, display, staff, process, anything that would give them an edge and show their future customers what they are missing and why they should be buying from them instead. This was to be done for free, 100% free.

Sounds perfect, but it was far from that. People were skeptical, they didn't like social media, they were afraid, one of them told me "What if one of my competitors gave me a fake one star review?" the other said "People use social media indecently and it could harm my current business." and one just said "NO, I don't want to be on the internet!". Their concerns were endless, felt as if I was forcing them to their inevitable doom. With a lot of patience, I answered their concerns and explained as much as knew, giving them as much examples as I possibly could.

My time in Suez was limited, as will be the case for all the cities that I plan to visit during Ramadan, but in the end one owner agreed to let me shoot. However, the story behind their brand was a lot more impressive than their establishment. The restaurant has been in their family for three generation and yet the forth generation was there watching and learning. One big family of cousins kept the legacy of their great great grand father alive, yet the place hasn't changed much since the simple goal of was to maintain what you have rather than expand. And this goal proves its weakness time and time again.

Their secret was the food itself, everything was fresh, their beef was homegrown and the chef is another story. A man with big smile from Bedouin roots that worked in major five-star hotels and restaurants in the Gulf and Egypt. His style is influenced by both Turkish and Lebanese cuisines. I honestly enjoyed my time there watching them work together as a family, handling different aspects individually, moving together as a team to even more success.


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