Masoud Catering


Masoud Catering: a gastronomic journey through the Syrian delicacies and food traditions

Admin | Comune di Milano

Omar Masoud was born in Damask, Syria, where he lived most of his life. He studied Arabic and he was working as a teacher. In 2005, when due to the war the situation in his home country was getting worst and worst, he decided to leave Syria together with his wife. They wanted to reach the UK, where he has some relatives, but the destiny brought them to Freiburg, Germany. Here he decided to start his own activity in the food sector, with the aim of bringing his skill and knowledge of the traditional preparation of oriental dishes to the Freiburg palate.

Can you please tell us how you had the idea to start your business?

I had my first contact with the gastronomy world when I was in the army in Syria. There I worked in a kind of restaurant doing catering for different embassies. I started as a dishwasher and after a while, thanks to my energy, curiosity and sprit of initiative, I learned how to cook the traditional Syrian plate Kubbeh, which needs a special preparation and “secret skills”. More and more tasks were assigned to me and finally I was able to surrender completely to what had long since become my passion: refined Syrian cuisine, with all its fragrant spices and recipes and delicacies that have been handed down for centuries. When I arrived in Germany, I was very good at cooking and I perfectly knew how a catering works. I soon realized that none was offering something like this in Freiburg: traditional Syrian food in form of catering, elaborated and elegant, far away from the usual fast-food restaurants.

In 2017 I applied to a programme supporting aspirant entrepreneurs. This course was a springboard: I could gain practical information and I learned how to create a business plan for my activity, which became an important guideline for structuring its development step by step during the forthcoming years. My business idea was real and concrete. Therefore, it was not so difficult for me to start my business. I had my first two clients even before finishing the programme. Also, I learned that if you want to succeed with your business, you have to be professional, and to look professional it is necessary, for example, to have a professional website, which is active, updated and well structured, as well as a network of potential clients to first launch your business.

At the beginning I did not have a proper place to work and I prepared the caterings in different kitchens or even at home. But thanks to the rapid success of my business and through the government economic assistance, I soon could buy a car to deliver the food. Later on, I also rented a restaurant in Simonswald, a village close to Freiburg, where the rents are less expensive.

Can you please tell us about the main obstacles you have encountered and how you managed to overcome them?

Bureaucracy was for me something complex and unknow at the beginning. In Syria if you have an idea and you have money, you can start immediately with your business. Working in general is way easier in Syria: what you call uncleared work, is the normality there! In Germany instead I had to fight, and sometimes I am still fighting, to understand the many processes that are necessary to become self-employed. Paperwork and articulated business vocabulary were for sure a stumbling block for me. Starting a business without counting on your own initial capital was an additional difficulty because I had also to apply for public funding.

Has the recent pandemic affected your business and how did you overcome the challenges?

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 affected my activity in an enormous way. Suddenly, the many orders I had were cancelled and during the pandemic months I had to interrupt my activity. Due to the impacts of Covid-19 at the moment the future of my business is still uncertain. It is very sad to see how an activity born from so many sacrifices, that in a short time has managed to successfully establish itself on the market, has been so strongly bit by this pandemic.

How do you see the future of your company?

As previously said, because of Covid-19 the future of my company is really uncertain. Mostly all the events that were planned for 2020, were cancelled, and he can just hope that the situation is going to be better in the next months. Anyway, also in this new difficult situation, I have different ideas for developing my business in the future.

Particularly, I would like to create a sort of franchising. Therefore, I am looking for other partners in other cities to make Masoud Catering famous in all the Baden-Württemberg region. I already found a partner in a city close to Freiburg, to whom I will teach my recipes. At the same time, I also would like to rent a food truck, and sel a special pistachios ice-cream to the restaurant and ice-cream shops in Freiburg.

Is there anything you would like to tell to your fellow entrepreneurs?

To start a business you need a concrete, real and solid idea. This is the most important part. Of course, at the same it is essential to be flexible and to be able to reinvent yourself when needed.