First Female Restaurant Owner Brings Local Flavours to Tafileh Customers

By Camille Dupire Jordan Times, Amman

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Eman Toufic shares her journey from cooking for her family to creating a thriving business in her community.

AMMAN

For eight years, Eman Toufic had been preparing meals and pickles for Ramadan and other family occasions while nurturing the dream of establishing her own restaurant in her hometown Tafileh, 183 kilometres southwest of Amman.

In 2010, the mother of six had managed to save enough money from her work at home to open her own business, becoming the first female restaurant owner and manager.

"The community and my family even were totally refusing the idea of a woman working in a restaurant from 7 am until 7 pm, but, after all these years working so hard, I was able to prove them and myself that I had the ability and skills to run a restaurant from A to Z," Toufic told The Jordan Times, voicing her pride to have made "her dream come true".

In 2016, a service provider assigned by USAID Local Entreprise Support Project (LENS) visited her restaurant, asking her about her business legal formality, the products she serves, and her willingness to attend training focused on the restaurant industry and hospitality.

"They asked me about my commitment to the business and my desire to attend a variety of trainings to improve my business. I filled out a questionnaire and to my biggest surprise, I think that I met their selection criteria as I was accepted into their training programme," Toufic recalled with enthusiasm.

"This support from USAID LENS enabled me to expand my business and make it as a successful restaurant owner and manager. I learned how to set budgets and market my business through trainings on financial management, food packaging, customer service, menu design and planning skills, among other topics," she recounted, adding that they also provided her with an in-kind grant to purchase the equipment needed for her facility in November 2017.

But the impact of the programme expanded well beyond a financial upgrade for her facility; Toufic was recently awarded the title of "perfect mother" and one of "the most 100 prominent women in Tafileh" by Hussein University and Mutah University, in acknowledgment of her dedication towards her household, her community and her local area as a whole.

"I never expected to receive such popularity among my community and it is so gratifying to hear that people see me as an example of success and consistency," Toufic commented, encouraging people, especially women, to "keep doing what they love in spite of all challenges and difficulties until they achieve their dreams and ambitions".

"I am now thinking of transferring my knowledge to the new generations and to my female peers to give them, too, an opportunity to achieve their dreams," she said.

The successful entrepreneur is now looking forward to receiving more customers as her reputation reached the Amman Governorate and to expand her restaurant by establishing branches all over the Kingdom.

"If you have the will, nothing can affect your success and determination," stressed the mother of six, who is now proudly contributing to her household's financial needs and helped provide for her sons' university education.

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