Mohammad is a familiar face around the island, turning up at festivals and events with his original wooden-box-style coffee stalls. But his plan was always to have a coffee truck and, having launched just that as part of his company Kool’s last year, business is going from strength to strength.
He explains: “I used to have a mobile café which used wood carts. I connected with Bahrain Tourism to attend their events and they said I needed to have something unique. When I got the opportunity for the Light Festival, they wanted karts in the shape of a cup. It looks like a cup of coffee and has a machine and grinder. It’s inspired by 1960s’ Dairy Queen carts. It’s something different which makes people remember us.
“But then I thought I would like to move around outdoors so I designed a coffee truck. The launch was at Yalla Banat, the big event at the BIC last October.”
The entrepreneur explains that the idea was to be near the food trucks because if someone buys food they always want a drink and those trucks, because they concentrate on food, don’t have much variety. “For us, we make fresh in line with customers’ tastes,” he says. “We have special syrups and a lot of varieties to choose from. In the Food Festival, happening this month, there are a lot of vendors but I think I am unique in my offering.”
A coffee lover, Mohammad was born and brought up in Bahrain and used to go to Caribou. His initial inspiration came when he read the Sales Acceleration Formula book and became determined to start his own business.
He continues: “I started to use the principles of the book to see what I could sell and help people – I wanted to use my knowledge of coffee and sales. Then I started thinking how to be different. All the cafés were in a physical location. I wanted to take my plan [for the truck] forward but couldn’t get investment at that time, so I came up with the idea to build the mobile coffee stalls.
“People started to know us from doing the festivals and the coffee truck, which is now the face of the main business, was launched last year.”
The coffee comes from a local supplier, using Planet Donut coffee beans, and Mohammad imports sauces from France to create the different tastes – 37 of them to be exact.
He laughs: “In the beginning it was hard because I had to taste test everything and get feedback from others. It took two or three months of creating my own drinks – they had to taste good not just look good. Not all are unique but there are lots that are. You have to have the regular makes as well.”
When I was reading my book, I wanted something I knew about. I was studying sales online in a café and I knew I wanted something different. I looked at ingredients and began preparing a list of what others have so that when I had my own coffee, it would be something different.
Since the truck launched, things have been going well and Mohammad has big plans for the future. He says: “It was my passion to have my own business. It was always my plan to have a truck. Every day when I have calls from [event] organisers, it drives me to do more and motivates me to grow further. The ultimate destination is not Bahrain. I’m already talking to a company in India to franchise. I want to take it outside Bahrain myself too. Maybe start with GCC and grow from there.”