From banking to real estate and then on to hospitality, Roaya Jaafar Saleh’s journey has been quite an adventure. In her quest for a better quality of life, the idea of Villa Mamas formed in her mind and opened its doors to the public in February 2011 in Saar, Bahrain.
She manages and controls every aspect of the restaurant from finance and manpower right up to quality control and menu planning. She constantly experiments, innovates and invents new recipes that are known to tickle the taste buds of her loyal patrons. “The key to success lies in being able to strike a delicate balance between the right flavours and a good ambience,” she says.
Roaya agrees that it’s never too easy to start and sustain a food business. The mother of four has had to face endless challenges like unavailability of important ingredients in the local market, finding skilled manpower, acquiring timely work visas and most importantly, sourcing finance. However there are governmental agencies of Bahrain at least trying to make things a lot easier for entrepreneurs like her.
To appease a growing breed of experimentalist foodies in the West, Roaya sees herself exporting the Bahraini cuisine to the US 10 years from now. Being hands on, interacting with patrons and guiding them to sample unfamiliar dishes on the menu is thumb rule in the food business according to her. With such a plan in place, her dream of setting up a restaurant in New York may soon become a reality – fingers crossed!