Day 102

Teddy doesn't want to be a trend follower...
After much examination I have come to realise that Kuwaitis are born with entrepreneurial blood. They are raised to be merchants, always seeking to franchise, always competing in opening new businesses, always wanting to find the best way to make money. That is admirable, and I love how the majority of our society are at least "slightly" driven.

However I have one complaint. Why is it that when a franchise opens, or a restaurant is born, people go crazy over it? I had to wait in line for 10 minutes to try a sample of yoghurt when I could have gotten an entire bucket of ice cream if I had just crossed to the other side. I'm not complaining about businesses prospering, on the contrary I'm happy to see it a success because that yoghurt was actually good. I'm just worried that after a couple of months, when the next franchise opens next door, it'll be as quiet as the shop on the other side. Why? Because Kuwaitis have the attention span of a fly. They stick, stick, stick to someone until the next sweet thing walks by. 

You need to moderate. If you stick, stick, stick you'll get bored and because of your sudden lash of excitement that you over exert on one place for too long you'll get bored and move on, and like sheep the rest will follow, leaving the business to shut down. We're not desperate people. Get a grip.


abdulla Al-Shaya | December 9, 2009 at 1:21 AM

salam teddy, you are right with this article. kuwaitis follow everything that is sweet. they also think very hard of getting money with only doing new business. people are doing companies for money and become a famous person and this a wrong thing to do it in their country. they are destroying their environment and this should stop quickly. bel3afa teddy. see tomorrow teddy in the reuse event.

from where did you order it? which restaurant?

BruTus | December 9, 2009 at 1:31 AM

"Habba" ;)
"Hawwenha wet-hoon" Take it easy Teddy .. Like you just know our small society !!
Sorry to tell you that "They will continue to do so forever"..
We shall try to accept this fact which will be much easier than changing people :S
I used to wait weeks or even months until the trend wave, of something newly open-up, ends to enjoy it peacefully !!
I know its a disadvantage to be late but really worth it !!

Khalid | December 9, 2009 at 2:01 AM

Teddy,tro7 o ma ta3zim ha...;p
bel 3afya,
btw welcome to Kuwait (habba city)!
and by habba city i mean kilshway y6la3 shay ydeed o specially lamma ykoon el place runned by kuwaitis, tkoon el habba more for some reasons reasons:
1-lamma she/he talk to a friend ytshe76on o ygolon "ee mathegtay el new yoghurt? ambaih 7addah 3jeeb" ( o the trouth innah she/he didn't like it)<<< tetshe7a6 ya3nii ehya elley t3arf kilshay new :S.

2-ykoon mokan el "Gazz" el ydeed!(specially 7ag bnat o shbab el jam3a so that lama wa7da tshof wa7d 7ilo tgol 7ag her friends, "shfty hatha el 7ilo elley ga3d y5eznii (o ohwa mayadre 3anha :S), hatha beljam3a bas y'97aklii wana ma a36eeh wayh"<<<5air inshallah :S.

3-To use the BB while waiting in the line, suddenly tyee wa7da 7ilwa o t5a6er everybody bas lazm ykon jedam wa7d, o tgolah wehya mna3ma her voice, "law sma7t, mmkn a6oof cuz msta3yela" o most of them like "haaaa 7yach".

Sorry, ketabt wayed!
bas hope you realized why they do stic, stic o b3dain yhbon eb smthn new!
have a nice and happy last day at REUSE3.0 :)

A. Benghaith | December 9, 2009 at 2:29 AM

You're absolutely right Teddy, that's what i hate most, but in the other hand, people here in Kuwait want to change their usual routine. Trying new things is not wrong, but doing it because other people do!!!

Deema | December 9, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I'm not claustrophobic, but to opening shops, hell I am! what's nice about new shops to is the coincidence of trying it not an actual mission.

Junior | December 9, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Actually, I apply this to three main reasons.

1 - Have you seen the options to do in Kuwait, you have two choices, either going out to eat or a movie thats been edited to bits (with a good half an hour cut out). Thats why most people run to the latest thing.

2 - Its a matter of taste. As far as I know there are two places who serve "proper" (and non of that gelato cr*p) frozen yoghurt in Kuwait, Napket and Pinkberry. Now not many people know about napket serving frozen yoghurt, and as (and this is my opinion) their food is terrible and over priced. Why would you want to even pass by. Pinkberry is the only dedicated frozen yoghurt joint, its a franchise, and a lot of marketing (even though not that great) was done. So why not try it, people who haven't been to a US store want to have some and give it a try, and I've heard both good and bad reviews. And BTW when the store first opened in US the lines were worse than in Kuwait. There was even a spoof on a show about the queue when it opened. (can't remember it but its the one with cavemen living in present times).

3 - As I said before it is one of two stores who specialise in this area. Its good, people want it, its a matter of taste. Now I agree with the "stick stick stick" but as above its something new so why not. But there is few, if little creativity in Kuwait. Having 20 stores who serve the same food is not original or creative, as far as I know its copying people's ideas. Remember the mini-burger craze, the sushi craze, and now the home made cupcake and cookies craze. Its not original or creative for all, just those who started it may be labeled as creative in my book. Sure, its new, its great, its a lot of options of food and places to eat. Thats called a market. The idea is the "Habba".

Sorry for the long post :)

Teddy B. | December 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM

OMG! The cupcake frenzy what is up with that??? The cookie one didn't take that long! And why is it always food? Why can't people sell things we actually need. Every single teenage girl is in her kitchen making cupcakes and then renting a booth to promote it. Why? If you're bored invent something. If you love cooking, I would love to see mini machboos chickens. Ones you can eat whilst walking. Why don't you invent one of those? Or honey chewing gum. I want that.

Junior | December 9, 2009 at 12:42 PM

"If you're bored invent something." Well there are people in Kuwait who do work and develop their hobbies. But, their a handful, your preaching to the wrong society.

The only business that works and has a strong demand is food. Its a matter of culture basically. Kuwait is accustomed to only have resturaunts/cafe's as opposed to anything else, its all a stare/show-off/ sad little competition over there anyway.

Sure, you had the whole "making and designing" dararee3 for women a while back but now its only in ramadan. But its not that creative really. Face it Kuwaiti's aren't creative. We've all been to these "ibda3" and "PBK" shows. Its a joke, all they have is home made cupcakes (ok I admit 50% not all) the rest were stores baking stuff or home made jewelery.

BTW it is illegal to sell home made food. Other than it being a hygiene risk. The actual people who took the plunge and joined the market put down their savings, and got all the permits (and we know how "simplified" gov't procedures in Kuwait are) are the ones suffering from these people. Why would I go through all that trouble when I can let the nannies bake some pillsbury mix and sell it at 5 times the price and call myself "creative".

"Mini-machboos Chickens" okay haaaave fun.

..::Amu::.. | December 9, 2009 at 12:50 PM

well said!

Khalid | December 9, 2009 at 1:08 PM

6awel balek teddy!
ana asaweelk mini machboos 3asal shtabii b3d ;P

Teddy B. | December 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

"Face it Kuwaiti's aren't creative."

I disagree. I found unbelievable talent since I've been here and they're all enthusiastic. Not just creative talent but passions like horse riding, soccer, shooting, karate etc. The blogging craze is also creative and some blogs with kuwaiti authors have an amazing vocabulary and writing ability. There's musicians, film makers, screen writers, movie fanatics, critics, chefs, designers, adventurers etc.

P2BK, Ibda3, and those other organisations are great ways to promote new projects by the youth, however due to popular demand, the majority of the people who apply to these booths are food, jewellery and clothes. The booth layout makes it hard for creative people to display work, I've seen it in Yalla Shabab. There were photographers but the limits and restraints to how they could display their work are tough. The lighting is horrible and the booths are expensive. Do you remember the comic book 99 when it first came out? Well I heard about it from a friend who went to one of these exhibitions. If you don't know them here's a link:

We need to find a way to channel the youth into a creative, free thinking route. Instead of allowing them to copy each other and make more cupcakes "because theirs is better" they should think outside the box and try to find a niche in the market. They don't have the guidance, and the people who try to reach out don't have the funds. There is so much potential in this country and I have faith in it.

Junior | December 9, 2009 at 3:08 PM

Ok let me rephrase what I wrote: Today's Kuwaiti's aren't creative.

Seriously, have you seen today's youth, have you seen how its a mirror image of the latest things on E!. I agree with you whole heartedly about channeling youth into a creative route. But that won't happen today. Its the culture of today's youth. If you said what you have said above 10 or 15 years ago then yes all doors were open to them back then and each had their own way and style to show their creativity.

You said it yourself "The lighting is horrible and the booths are expensive" if those exhibitions were designed to promote talent, why were they renting them out expensivley? Why try to make a profit? All these sponsors pay money to place ads and fund the rentals and costs don't they (What ever happened to helping out those individuals and giving them a boost). Why not do a lottery or a draw for spaces? Why not limit exhibition spaces to individuals rather than corporations? (Again, if it was a sponsor then fine). I think the latest trend is the actual exhibitions. I've seen study cases and I've worked on exhibition committees, trust me they make a killing. Their not there for creativity or promotion. (Again, I won't generalise, but I am talking about the big exhibitions, not the illegal ones made in basements of houses.)

Sure, I can pick out a big number of people who are willing to show and do their passion's those are the people who I was talking about when I said, "there are people in Kuwait who do work and develop their hobbies."

" the majority of the people who apply to these booths are food, jewellery and clothes." Again, isn't one of the reason of copying people what made these type of businesses a surplus.

And you mentioned photography, why not dedicate and work on art societies and have proper classes (I know there are a few). Start a club, promote your club, why impose restraints on them if you want to showcase their talent?

Again, sorry for the long post

Teddy B. | December 10, 2009 at 5:33 PM

I agree Junior we need an outlet or workshop or something. Everything is money money money, but I still see potential in the next generation. Although they're more spoilt than we are I have a feeling after the waves of financial problems people are starting to slowly but surely think outside the box. Instead of giving up hope I think we need to push them and motivate them.

On another note... I've been thinking about the miniature machboos chicken concept and I think that if you create a risotto base with the chicken and deep fry it as a risotto ball like the italian restaurants, then have a daqoos sauce on the side that would kick any cupcake's ass. That, or a machboos sushi roll fusion style. Yalla kids there's an idea go make it :P start a kuwaiti fusion restaurant in your kitchen with you cook babu as the main chef.

elwehbi | December 14, 2009 at 9:58 AM

I see this addiction to franchising as a two-fold contradictory model:

1) We have the ambition to develop our entrepreneurial skills and go out, risk it, search and find the franchise which has the potential to be successful in Kuwait


2)We're too lazy to come up with our own genuine concept, which at the end of the day, would have more character and higher ambitions of potentially franchising out.

It's funny because the real money is in the latter (no.2 that is). In our culture, the concept of rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty seems to add a negative connotation to the "do-it-yourself" model. For example, only up until recently was it acceptable for a Kuwaiti to be a chef. Really people? Really? Now it's proving that it has its own level of prestige within the market. Why? Kuwaiti chefs are starting their own concepts and succeeding. But unfortunately, most people would opt for the easy approach. Pay a big amount to bring some fancy shmancy name to Kuwait, hire a staff of 250 foreigners to run the show, and worst of all, the franchise owner normally is not involved in quality control. So how exactly are they protecting their investment?

Sorry for the rant!

Teddy B. | December 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

They're not. They have more faith in international franchises than their own locals to the extent that they don't bother getting involved. Look at Slider Station, Chocolate Bar, Burger Hub and a handful of others. They're all local businesses that are slowly expanding across the region. I wouldn't say their ideas are original, but because they're self made the quality is always monitored which is why they taste, feel and look better than your average franchise.

Rant as much as you want elwehbi I feel your frustration.

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