Mel Hearse talks to Wally Mostafa, co-founder and part-owner of restaurant BEKYA Middle Eastern Foods, about his transition from franchisee to restaurateur.
Whilst still in the franchisee business, Wally Mostafa owns one Subway restaurant and he’s made the switch to opening and running his own restaurant—BEKYA Middle Eastern Food.
BEKYA has started out strong and is already a popular eatery that’s housed in the Tramsheds Harold Park—which has recently undergone a transformation into a European-inspired food hall hosting 18 retailers and providores. He and his partners also have another two BEKYA restaurants: one in the Gateway food court, and the original outlet situated in the Greenhouse at Centennial Park.
The concept is straightforward: BEKYA prides itself on fresh, tasty and handmade middle eastern goodies.
“We use family recipes and strictly local fresh ingredients,” Wally says. “Our food techniques include pickling, slow cooking meats, home-made Egyptian flatbreads and a variety of spice mixes.”
Their space has been carefully designed with an open layout, to encourage an environment of sharing a meal—an old, honoured tradition and an expression of hospitality.
Opening the popular middle eastern eateries has involved a sometimes-steep learning curve. That said, Wally says his experiences with Subway—including his established relationship with Coca-Cola Amatil—has made for a somewhat less bumpy ride.
“Funnily enough, my Coca-Cola representative from my Subway restaurants is now the area manager where BEKYA is located, so we already know each other,” he says
“They’ve actually provided invaluable help with our set up—from helping with the bar design to recommending and supplying our beverages at the restaurant.”
When it comes to support, Coca-Cola Amatil has plenty to provide its customers. As well as advice on beverage selection and optimal stock levels, the team also provides bar runners, straw holders, and coasters; as well as decals to place behind the bar, reminding staff how to pour the perfect beverage. Around the restaurant, Coca-Cola Amatil offers branded glassware, signage and cutlery holders.
Then there’s the personalized support on offer. Wally says due to his relationship over the years, and particularly because of the successful high volume trading with The Greenhouse café at Centennial Park, Coca-Cola Amatil came on board with the BEKYA brand from day one.
“They pretty much did our bar design—helping design for a maximum workflow of the bar area, including the coffee section at our flagship restaurant at The Tramsheds Harold Park,” he says.
“We went to their Grinders Coffee headquarters in Leichhardt, where we got Barista Training on their machines. Perhaps more importantly, we got their Alcohol Beverage Ambassador, Michael Nouri to meet with us and come up with a middle eastern cocktail menu using middle eastern flavours such as Hibiscus, Rosemary, Thyme, and Mint.
“As our business—BEKYA—continues to grow, I have no doubt Coca-Cola Amatil will grow with us.”
About the Author
Melanie Hearse has been working as a freelance writer for 15 years—covering new fads in food, exercise, adventure, travel and more.