A few weeks ago I was driving down Sheikh Zayed Road in the afternoon and passed by a large Egyptian restaurant in one of the new highway adjacent retail buildings that have become popular with F&B joints. When I looked at this restaurant I couldn’t believe the size of it. “Classic mistake,” I thought. “Typical overexcited new restauranter believes his restaurant is going to be such a hit that he has to rent out mammoth space.” I’d seen it time and time again, and in the majority of the cases the restaurants scale down within a few years or shut down completely.

I had never heard of the restaurant before, and it made me realize that I didn’t know many Egyptian restaurants at all. “Is Egyptian food even that popular?” I mused. I shrugged and drove past without thinking about the restaurant again.

A few days ago, I was driving down that same stretch of SZR again, but only this time at night. I happened to glance over the restaurant I had questioned only a few weeks earlier and was shocked to see it bursting at the seams with diners. This place was PACKED. I smiled and realized it wasn’t the restauranter who had made the “classic mistake”, it was me as the marketer who had done so when assessing the place.

You see, I’m quite interested in the F&B scene in Dubai. I’d assumed that because I didn’t know this place it must not be popular. Not only was that arrogant, but I made the obvious mistake of not realizing that I didn’t know about this place not because it wasn’t popular, but because I wasn’t the target audience in the slightest. I’m not Egyptian, I’m not intersted in Egyptian food, and I don’t smoke shisha, which is apparently one of this restaurant’s biggest attractions. Why would the owners waste their money advertising to me?

This is an error we so often make in business. We try so hard to shout about ourselves from the rooftops and forget that we don’t need the whole world to know about or like our brands. All we need is to speak persuasively to a defined target audience and convince its members that they absolutely, positively need to try our products. If we impress those people, they will tell other similar people who they know would be interested, and so our tribe will grow.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see sparks in everyone’s eyes when they encounter your business. Remember, the only people you have to appeal to are the ones you created this business for in the first place!

So, if anyone is interested in Egyptian food, do check out the restaurant that gave me a refresher on target audiences here.