This month we speak to Teddington resident Mazen Bou Antoun about his popular Lebanese restaurant Ruba.
When, and why, did you start your business?
Ruba opened on 11th December 2018, but actually I have been doing this for over
I’m passionate about food and people, and enjoy service and hospitality and all the challenges that come with it.
What challenges did you face when setting up?
I acquired the site in early October and the aim was to open before Christmas. We did a nearly full refurb and the challenges were numerous: getting the site ready and ordering all the furniture and equipment to arrive on time; staff recruitment; finalising branding and menus and printing; getting all the licences from the council, marketing and a lot more… I could talk all day about the challenges faced, and I was on my own without my team.
What do you love most about running your own business?
The biggest pleasure is the customer satisfaction, and the appreciation and great feedback I get from our customers and community. It makes me so content and gives me the energy and stamina to keep going.
What valuable lessons have you learned?
I learn every day, and will always keep learning. I think the main thing opening Ruba has taught me is that if you have a goal and focus on it, you will make it happen.
Is there anything you would do differently if starting out again?
Not really… considering my circumstances, I managed to achieve above my expectations, with the help and support of my family, friends and the local community.
What’s your most popular service or product?
Our dinner service, especially weekends.
I like the buzz and the adrenaline when it’s really busy. We have a wide and varied menu, with lots of vegan and vegetarian dishes. Our Hommos, Baba Ghanouj and Mixed Grill are always a popular choice.
What advice would you share with other small businesses or those thinking of
I’ve helped and advised many businesses during my career, and I love seeing people succeed. However, I believe succeeding is never by luck, it takes hard work, a great amount of planning, the right idea at the right time and place, plus a good team to succeed. Nevertheless, no one should be put off by these challenges – overcome the fear and follow what you believe in.
What are your plans/hopes for the future of the business?
I aim high and have big dreams. At the same time, I am very cautious and do not get over excited. I am currently in the process of acquiring another restaurant but I have bigger plans for a much more challenging concept (still Lebanese food) in the near future.
Name some other local independent businesses that you love to support.
I would love to support every local business and our local community and already do as much as I can. We have been part of the support group that provided food for the NHS, particularly Kingston Hospital, Teddington Memorial Hospital and Whitton Corner Health and Social Care centre. We also support local schools, charities and fundraising events by giving vouchers, or taking part and providing food and drinks to help raise money for good causes.
What do you love about our local area?
There are so many things to love about the local area! My favourite thing is cycling in Bushy Park and by the river.
132 High Street, Teddington TW11 8JB
Tel: 0208 977 7700 / Mobile: 07900 957963
Social media: @rubarestaurant
Compiled by The Word Sanctum,
Copywriters for small businesses.