What inspired you to swap economics and your original career paths for life as a café owner?
Davron: We all had a mutual passion for good food and good coffee, and as we approached graduation we knew that the ideas we had thrown around, initially just for fun, were actually pretty good. So, as soon as we graduation, we decided to ditch our original plans and go for it. It sounds exciting, and it was – but it was also terrifying, as we moved from Scandinavia to Dubai and launched ourselves in an industry that we had limited experience in.
What was the thinking behind Friends Avenue and why do you think it has been such a success?
Zee: By visiting some of the big cities over the years, such as London, New York and Stockholm - I was inspired by the small, quirky cafes in the corners of the city where you could grab a seat, hide from the crowd and enjoy really good food and coffee. We wanted to create something similar at Friends Avenue, and we focused on creating a relaxing, comforting and casual space with an industrial feel.
In your opinion, what makes the perfect cup of coffee?
Davron: A perfect cup of coffee is the result of great roasting, good coffee equipment and skilled, conscientious baristas. We serve RAW coffee at Friends Avenue and they help us tick those three boxes.
You have a new venture in the pipeline, how is that coming along?
Zee: Arrows and Sparrows is our next upcoming café project, which is opening in August. It’s an 1800 square foot casual dining venue with indoor and outdoor seating, and will be located in Emaar Business Park, near The Greens. Casual in its nature, the vibe in the café will be all about a relaxed atmosphere where people can tuck themselves away from their daily routine, unwind and chill.
You’re both pretty young to be running your own business, especially far from home, how do you deal with the pressure involved?
Zee: Working alongside a business partner who is also a close friend you’ve known your whole life really helps with the pressure. We know each others strengths and capabilities, and we can also yell at each other and then be laughing again five minutes later.
What is the strangest request you’ve had from a customer?
Davron: We once had a customer ask us to remove the quinoa from the quinoa salad. It sounds impossible to do, but we did it! Our chef might have hated us a little bit, but it was worth it as the customer was happy!