Babi's Bistro - the restaurant that feels like home
That restaurant people have been talking about? You know, the one where they serve guacamole and pasta and bozena shiro (separately, of course) at one place?
That restaurant people have been talking about? You know, the one where they serve guacamole and pasta and bozena shiro (separately, of course) at one place? Loline interviewed Dawit Betsha, the founder of Babi's bistro, a new and modern restaurant in Addis Ababa around Bisrate Gebriel that has been blending food with music and comfort. Dawit told Loline about the inception of Babi's, the services they offer, their incredible menu, and more.
Dawit had just finished college at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, 5 Kilo, with a civil engineering degree. But he was always curious about and wanted to work in the restaurant industry. "We sat down and discussed a couple of business opportunities. And we had a nice location that was available, so we finished up the design and started working." Dawit explains. "We had initially done a business study to see who's around there and what could be different, then we wanted to create an establishment with its own brand."
Babi's, named after Dawit's father, has grown to be the talk of the town with its modern setting, ambient atmosphere, and diverse dishes. The outdoor-like feel and the entertainment events have made Babi's an ideal hangout spot in the city. "Babi's is just more than food, it is also a bistro with its own delivery company. We aim to provide a place where people can get their comfort food while spending some quality time with friends or family." Dawit says.
Dawit also told Loline about their efforts to provide the best customer service. "We have pagers on every table to conveniently call waiters. We also have several plans to digitize most of our services, like the option of just putting in your table number online and ordering directly. " Furthermore, Babi's offers an alternative to order online through their website or application, which, according to Dawit, has had a promising response from customers.
Babi's offers catering services for various events at different embassies. They also do a 3km free delivery and a 5 to 6 km paid delivery, making them accessible and convenient. "What makes Babi's different is our specialty in providing various kinds of services that can satisfy everyone's needs.'"Dawit continues,
"We have always been competing with ourselves. We look at who we are as a company and think about how to better our dishes and packages to provide the most comfortable, unique, and modern experiences."
Their different packaging options and kid's menu section are a part of the all-inclusive culture at Babi's. "We want people to relate to their homes when looking at the natural colors and relaxed settings. Our place could get cold at night, so sometimes we have blankets (Gabi), tea, or coffee, depending on the season. We want to keep our customers comfortable."
Loline asked about some of the challenges Babi's has faced and how they overcame them. Dawit answers, "Challenges in this business are continuous, ranging from complications at district offices to licensing issues. But if you have a set goal, all you have to do is keep moving towards it. Your goal should be larger than your setbacks, and only then will you start to see the problems as lessons. That is entrepreneurship. Challenges will keep coming from every direction, but it is all about keeping the mindset where you can see beyond the challenge. I overcome these challenges by reading books and, most importantly, by trying to find a mentor. Some people have already gone through the problems you are now facing, so look up to those people, get advice, and learn from their experiences."
Talking about challenges, Dawit told Loline about changes that the government should make to help businesses in the restaurant industry. The significant issue, according to Dawit, is the lack of a single and stable institution that can minimize the bureaucratic process. But he didn't finish without appreciating the changes that have occurred from when he first started the business.
Having worked a long time in radio and being the founder of Insheger, an infotainment platform, Dawit is well aware of the demand for entertainment scenes in Addis or the lack thereof. This demand has motivated Babi's to expand their services beyond just culinary services. "When I was working at 105.3 Afro Fm hosting the breakfast show, I came across numerous young and talented people that could use a platform. So, why not create that platform, get it sponsored, and have events? We would be giving our customers much more than food. It would be an opportunity for the artist to introduce their music and who they are; it was a win-win situation." Dawit ascertains. Babi's also hosts events such as acoustic, karaoke, cocktail, and Dj nights. Babi's sometimes hosts the events in collaboration with Insheger, a platform that aims to cover everything happening in Sheger, from foods to events and networking, hence the name. "We have a big aim at Insheger, but we are now mostly working on the media. We plan to build it brick by brick."
Looking at the remarkable coherence and motivation of the employees at Babi's, Loline asked Dawit what he does to keep his team motivated.
"I work motivated. And energy is infectious."
He stated. "With about 37 employees both at Babi's and Insheger, I can't be on the sidelines watching. I am present and working along with them. I also have a good and structured team that keeps the momentum. We have general company meetings as well as meetings with department heads where we talk about our progress."
Loline asked the most anticipated question; What is the best dish at Babi's? Dawit had a genuinely hard time naming one and almost listed the whole menu. Their diverse selection of foods is ready to provide customers with their preferences, be it traditional or western. The Adwa combination, a fasting dish, also appeals to most customers with its unique variety of firfir, french fries, pasta, and vegetables. Ready to serve the diverse demography, Babi's provides different kinds of dishes and cocktails. "Our cheesy chicken wrap with guacamole sells well, but I would want our customers to try something they like because Babi's taste and who we are is different; it will be a different experience for everyone."
Ready to make our way to Bisrate Gebriel, we finally asked Dawit where he sees Babi's in the next five years. "In the next five years, we want to be accessible to everyone. Babi's will be a place you will rely on whenever you want to have events or just go out and dine. Down the road, we also plan to be available at different places around the city, offering affordable but high-quality meals. Our vision is to be on everybody's doorstep, and when they want to step out, we'll make sure they find us at our nearest branch."
If you can't wait to go to Bisrate Gebriel, you can find Babi's online at their website or download their application.