Every week, ILQ features a different Qatari startup in our ‘Startup of the Week’ segment. Qatar has some of the most creative, unique, and impactful startups in the region, and we cover them all, across a variety of industries in Doha -- fashion and beauty, food & dining, health, education, and many more!
This time, we're shining the spotlight on Saj Boutique (SB) -- a 100% Qatari-owned sandwich restaurant/shop which specializes on authentic and original Saj bread! Linking the old culture of the Saj bread -- which is only available in the Levant region (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan) -- and the modern taste, it's Qatari founders and owners Mohammed Hamad (MH) and Mohammed Abdul Hadi (MAH) said that their sandwiches are among the best not only in Doha but in all of Qatar as their wrap style sandwiches are intricately made with passion and the highest of quality.
Their specialty -- the spicy Zinger chicken -- is also one of the crowd-favourites as it is packed with protein and nutrients which is great for people who's always on the go and has no time to prepare food on a daily basis.
"All of our ingredients are from Qatar and because Saj is such a rare thing in the country, we made it to a point to acquire an oven all the way from Jordan to produce the most home-tasting Saj for our customers, as we want only the best for them," explains MH.
SB's opening last February 10, 2017 gives them a year and nearly 3 months in operation under the food and beverage (F&B) business. MAH hopes to take part for the first time on the country's biggest and only international food festival next year.
"Qatar is made up of all kinds of food and sandwiches are an integral part of the culinary scene here. When me and four of my friends went out one day to look for Saj, we were devastated to learn that it doesn't exist here. That's the main concept of our business, to bring the original Saj bread to Qatar," recalls MAH, who also mentioned that SB's live-cooking feature allows customers to really see how their sandwiches are being made.
The two young entrepreneurs also recalled the setback that was brought by the almost 10-month-old siege: "We weren't really affected by the blockade because of the wise government. They devised an alternative plan where every product has a replacement and to tell you honestly, it got even better these days as lots of variety in certain products from around the globe is available in the Doha market at the moment."
Despite that, the duo is still thankful to the praises -- especially for those coming from Middle Easterns living in the Levant region -- that SB is effortlessly getting. MH even reminisced how their loyal customers always thank them for "bringing back home," a compliment which wipes off all stress from working all day, according to him.
As SB wasn't incubated in either the Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) and Digital Incubation Center (DIC), the founders are keen to give fearless advice to fellas who are also planning to open up their own F&B business soon: "It's a big risk, but we would still suggest you to go for it. Whether you become successful or not, the experience that you will gain will most likely help you become a better businessman in the future."
Calling it a day, MH and MAH hinted that they will soon be operating for 24 hours. Another exciting thing, according to MAH, is their plan to open branches in neighboring countries such as Oman and Kuwait.
SB's wrap style sandwiches are reasonably priced, prices range from QR 10 to QR 29 for the large size and QR 7 to QR 18 for the medium size. And as their main branch can only accommodate limited seats, takeaway services are more preferred. They're open from 7:00 a.m until 12 midnight. Apart from delicious sandwiches, SB also offers salads and nutrient-filled juices. They have also ready boxes contain 6 flavors and 18 or 24 pieces upon customers request and any saj can be upgraded to meal by adding QR 7 to the price.
To know more about Saj Boutique, check out their details below!
Have you tried Saj Boutique's signature sandwiches? How was it for you? Also, what are some of your favorite startups around Doha? Comment below! Don’t forget to give us a like and share -- it keeps us going!
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