Owner of Edinburgh restaurant Taza in Town, Abdullah Razzouk, tells us about his 18 hour working day
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The first thing I do when I wake up is have a coffee with my wife. This time is sacred and is the same every single day. My first is a Lavazza, and my second is an Arabic coffee from home. I then open up my emails and catch up on anything that I’ve missed from the day before. This often includes calling suppliers and members of staff.
I try to go to the gym two to four times a week. My lifestyle is busy and active, but there’s little time to focus on my physical health. I try to not skip my gym time and make it a priority to re-balance my mental health too.
My first work stop of the day is Taza Bake. We have a factory in Newhaven where we produce all of our flatbreads. We need the space as the bread is made to a very specific recipe and cooked on a very high heat, much higher than normal ovens. When I arrive, I meet with our experienced operations manager who oversees the day-to-day. We go through orders, deliveries, and sales. He’s a huge help, I wouldn’t be able to do it without him.
I have gone through a weight loss journey over the last few years so I don't eat sugar or carbs anymore (to my great sadness), but I have lost about 65 kilos over the last two years. Around this time I'll have a small meal which usually consists of houmous or baba gannouj, along with chicken or lamb shawerma.
I leave the factory and begin my work day for Taza in Town on Bread Street. On the way, I stop by various suppliers to pick up meat, vegetables, and other essentials for that day in the restaurant. Taza means freshness, so we aim to have the freshest ingredients possible.
I get to the restaurant and go through any staffing shortages. This time has been exceptionally difficult for the hospitality industry, so it is often the case that we have gaps in the team on any given day. This, combined with rising costs, has certainly made it challenging. I cover for any gaps that we have, but most of all I run the pass – keeping an eye on all the food that is being prepared to ensure that it’s of the standard we want. I interact with any sitting in customers and make sure that they have a good experience in our little restaurant.
I usually leave between now and midnight, and return to the factory. Much of our bread is made overnight with our machines constantly running, so I check that everything is running smoothly and that there have not been any issues or interruptions.
It’s late when I get home. As an entrepreneur, having a day off isn’t something that I’m really able to do. Today I wasn’t able to see my children or family, but I sometimes try to sneak away from the factory or restaurant to spend some time with them over the week.