Woman-Owned Kabul Restaurant Turns Profit and Assists Vulnerable Females

Publish Date: 25 October 2018

Opened last year in Kabul, the Bost Family Restaurant caters specifically to female clients and their families, and employs over 23 women formerly fallen prey to domestic violence, some of whom reside in a local women’s shelter.  The work provides these vulnerable women a path of reintegration into society, and economic empowerment. However, the restaurant was operating at a loss because of a lack of proper financial record-keeping, administration and management procedures, as well as no long-term business development vision. Seeking business advisory assistance, the Bost Restaurant signed up for USAID Women in the Economy (WIE) MBA Corps program that is designed to provide technical mentoring and modern business management support to women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs), or businesses with at least ten percent female staff.  Technical advice is provided by an embedded Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate.

To increase profitability, the MBA Corps adviser, after conducting a comprehensive assessment, transformed the business in less than six months by implementing a package of reforms that included:  formulating a proactive marketing plan and strategy, setting up an organized filing system, installing computer-based accounting and inventory management systems, and introducing online ordering of food and catering services that features a real-time, detailed notification system. The new processes increased the restaurant’s turnover more than four- fold – from approximately USD 2,200 per month to over USD 100,000 per month. Bost Restaurant now receives at least two to three large food delivery orders for up to 500 people from national and international organizations every week.

Through the MBA Corps activity, WIE demonstrates the value of professionally trained managers to small business owners, some of whom cling to traditional family-run business practices and are reluctant to bring in professionals perceived to be ‘outsiders’. The pilot phase recently completed in Kabul, and benefitted 22 eligible companies who streamlined procedures, and developed their capacity to achieve a measurable business success. The results gained from MBA Corps in Kabul encouraged WIE’s Private Sector Development (PSD) Component to begin the roll out of this initiative in five regions with a projected target of 120 eligible businesses.

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