Brand View: KIZA restaurant brings the spirit of Africa to the region and beyond, thanks to the entrepreneurial vision of Joe Osawaye
What's the story behind your business?
Our business is focused on bringing the Africa Experience to the world, through sight, sound and taste. Looking at the market transition towards Africa in the last 6 years, the world has begun to take notice. From the music to the arts and craft scene, the emergence of African culture is clear and present, and KIZA is leading the charge in the UAE. Once we get people through the doors of KIZA, the ambience gets them. Most people cannot describe it; we call it the ‘Spirit’ of Africa. They sense a belonging that Transcends cultures. There was a clearly a gap for that, and we are bridging it.
If all goes well, where do you see it going in the next five years? The next decade?
Our Vision, KIZA, Africa inspiring the world propels us to put the KIZA brand in most major cities of the world, In the different continents, From North America to South America, From Europe to Asia and across the continents of the world at least one branch or two per continent so we give Africans and the Afrocentric the joy of experiencing KIZA globally. We want to go global in summary.
What's the single biggest challenge facing your industry today?
The oversupply of options to the customer. KIZA has a peculiar challenge within the industry as we try to introduce a cuisine that is not really popularly known to the rest of the world, unlike some others. We have had to find strategies to invite different demographics and nationalities to come experience this amazing cuisine and vibrant, colourful culture. We are not just a Restaurant but also the premium African hospitality brand in the UAE, and the number one place to enjoy phenomenal Afrobeat music and African hospitality.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organisation?
A unified vision! We run a process where the whole organisation understands the Vision and Mission of KIZA and are encouraged to bring up ideas during our weekly and monthly meetings and even sometimes daily as they get inspired. As we say no idea is stupid, so the team are free and happy to share, we will look at the idea vis a vis our Vision and Mission, and if it aligns, we find the best way to adopt into our offerings.
Can you name a person who has had an impact on you as a leader? Perhaps someone who has been a mentor to you? Why/how did this person impact your life?
Myles Munroe; one of my mentors. His teachings and life example has had a significant impact on my leadership style and my life in general. His Knowledge, depth of Understanding of Leadership and Purpose and Wisdom has really helped me shape my leadership style tremendously.
What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
KIZA is where the spirit of Africa comes alive.
When faced with two equally qualified job candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
I look for the fire in their eyes, PASSION and ATTITUDE. The rest can be taught and learned.
What are three characteristics that you believe every leader should possess?
What advice would you give to someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Be patient with yourself; you will need to learn on the job most times as every business is different. Carry your team along as you will need them to achieve your goals, this will really help new leaders. Leadership is about service; you will need to understand this too.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
My inner Strength. Most know me as the amiable KIZA CEO with a constant big smile on his face. (Smile)
What's one productivity tip you wish everyone else knew?
Be orderly as order increases productivity.
What is the biggest luxury in your life?
Time and Freedom.
If something were to happen to your business, what would be your backup plan?
There is no back-up. The vision remains Africa inspiring the world, and we intend to do that. There are various aspects to that vision that will naturally emerge as opportunities for success. These may come in the guise of challenges, which may appear to have a negative impact at first, or as a by-product of successes. Either way, we have one plan.
How do you relax and switch off from the office?
I never switch off as the business is Me, and I am the business. I really love what I do, so that naturally helps. I would say it depends. For me, what I do is not a job or a means to an end, it is a dream come true. It is my passion - my fuel for life. I try to have downtime now and again but even then, I am focused on how to make me better for the greater good of the Kiza family, my family and the world around me.
Do you have any daily rituals that help prepare you for the day? (Examples include meditation, going to the gym, making breakfast, etc.)
My day starts with my Spiritual and Physical exercises, I meditate through reading or listening to motivational messages, address family matters, update myself on high-end and luxury lifestyle, see what is happening out there and attend to my different businesses.
Finish this sentence, "the world would be a better place if only…."
We celebrated each other’s differences, gifts and talents.
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