The beautiful view from the terrace of Julia Dumna Restaurant offered a relaxed and enchanting experience as participants sat and watched the sunset on the distant horizon. They chatted with each other and counted the last minutes of the day's Ramadan fasting. Then began another interesting Business MeetUps with entrepreneurs Erica Worsley and Kenan Hussein, partners and proprietors of Julia Dumna Restaurant & Event Centre.
Erica started by talking about her experience as a former finance expert and also a couple of years spent organising events in refugee reception centres in Luxembourg. She met Kenan and they decided to put their resources together in creating a restaurant. As usual, participants' curiosity in the areas of financing, business registration processes, partnership and operations/management of the restaurant was expressed in the form of questions, resulting to a rich and inspiring discussion. Hussein noted that the name of the restaurant was inspired by the famous Roman empress of Syrian origin, Julia Dumna whose reign promoted gender and education reforms. Notably, this resonates with Erica's values. Some of her work with the refugee centres involved improving the living standard of women and other vulnerable groups.
A participant wondered why they decided on situating the restaurant on the far end of the city rather than around the centre as most restaurants opt for. Erica explained how this was both a strategic and operational decision that has proved beneficial to the restaurant. She noted that a good percentage of their patronage comes from families and event organisers. Usually, this niche market requires a sizeable restaurant hall, a relaxed atmosphere, with sufficient parking space for vehicles, and situated in a less busy neighbourhood. Thanks to Erica and Kenan's decision, Julia Dumna Restaurant ticks these requirements and more.
Like most businesses, there have been some challenges faced by the restaurant. Erica highlighted some of these challenges they have faced and surmounted. For instance, there is the management of staff and employee turnover. This is a common challenge in restaurant-business. Julia Dumna currently has a team of almost ten. Most of them are of different cultures, and nationality and Beneficiaries of International Protection, BPIs. Rather than consider this a challenge, Kenan, who is mostly responsible for managing this aspect of the business, explained how it has been beneficial to them in expanding and enhancing the restaurant's overall appeal. A representative of ADEM was available to further explain the agency's work in making Luxembourg's employment market more accessible to BPIs and also, their close work with employers, including Julia Dumna Restaurant.