Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Office Manager
ESTABLISHED 10 months ago, Milan’s upmarket family restaurant in the Midlands capital of Gweru has quickly become a major player in the province’s leisure industry.
This establishment is now a unique destination serving customers, both local and those from other parts of the country with a different philosophy.
The establishment offers first-class varied cuisine, a wellness centre, a private salon, a boutique, a nail bar, a hair salon, a conference centre, a children’s play area and a cocktail bar. sushi, among other facilities.
Its owner, top banker Taleb Mahommed, said it was a long-term investment and as such the aim was not to recoup the investment in a short period of time, but to open a door to make the Midlands an equal or better competitor in the food and entertainment industry.
The belief that customer satisfaction is as important as their products and services, Mahommed said, has helped the establishment attract many customers and their numbers continue to grow with each passing day.
“I started this and surrounded myself with like-minded people who aren’t driven by money.
We want to see this thing become huge and benefit Zimbabweans because I am also giving something back to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mahommed said the Milan Family Restaurant shows what Gweru is capable of in the tourism industry.
“We have joints in Harare and Bulawayo which are good so we wanted to offer something better to Gweru and support him with more support by bringing international people and we are achieving that.”
He said many people always come to Harare for good things which is also a motivation to attract people to Gweru and play a role in the growth of the city’s entertainment industry.
“If you notice, a lot of us thought the only place to get good food and quality entertainment was in Harare, but that turned out to be wrong.
We have taken the risk and we are benefiting from it as evidenced by our growing number of customers,” said Mahommed.
The quality of staff and teamwork, said Mahommed, have been the main driver of the establishment’s success.
“We have invested in quality personnel, which allows our customers to benefit from quality service.
They give customers a sense of belonging.
We have the best waitresses, servers, bartenders and the best food and drink in town.
We are continuously improving our standards, we change our menu every three months,” he said.
Mahommed said Milan is all about dedication to providing quality service to customers.
“We see what people like and give them exactly that.
It’s not always about profiting, but about giving the best to customers.
We are willing to sacrifice profits just to ensure that in the Midlands and Gweru there is a one stop shop for entertainment food and leisure.
If you’re coming from Bulawayo now, you know you can stop by the Milan Family Restaurant, get a massage, freshen up, and continue your journey.
“No one thought a small town like Gweru deserved a quality place like this.
We are looking at a long-term view and that makes people happy and that is confirmed by smiles on their faces when they are here,” he said.
Most things, Mahommed said, are done in-house as they produce their own chickens and make their own bread and cakes.
Apart from the resounding success it has recorded, Milan Family Restaurant has also spawned Hear Me Zimbabwe, a singing competition that is taking the country by storm, giving strangers a platform to showcase their talent.
Mahommed said the show was gaining international recognition.
“I am pleased to note that we are working with Universal Records to sign the winners of the Hear Me Zimbabwe contest.
This way we will not only let people show what they have, but we will give them financial and registration benefits,” he said.
Hear Me Zimbabwe is entering its second season.
How did Mahommed end up in Zimbabwe?
Mahommed, who is a UK banker, said he came to Zimbabwe in 2004 to do a feasibility study for one of the UK banks.
“I then saw investment opportunities and decided to move to Zimbabwe.
There are a lot of opportunities here and a lot of people don’t notice the opportunities.
I was also facing a midlife crisis and decided to reinvent myself here in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mahommed said he has ventured into mining, construction, farming and now catering.