Located in Amman, Jordan, Primal Bistro & Café opened its doors in the summer of 2015, with the vision of encouraging people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It is Jordan's first & only paleo restaurant, with a wide range of vegan options.
To capitalize on the regional demand for health-food restaurants, Primal received a grant from the USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project (LENS) to develop a franchise model so it can export its concept to other countries in the region and beyond. As part of the grant, Primal is also supporting smaller businesses within its supplier network to become export-ready.
When Maha Shawareb the owner of Primal opened the café with her partners Rana Saket and Imad Jumean, they wanted to provide their customers with the best culinary experience, using only the most nutritious ingredients. As Maha was developing the menu, she started looking for local producers who would be able to supply the café.
As a woman-owned business, Primal is keen to integrate other women-owned MSEs into their supply chain. In doing so, Primal distinguished itself as an establishment that promotes local products and champions local businesses.
“Primal’s main goal is to create a platform for local female producers where they can promote their products and develop linkages among them and with other local and international suppliers.” Maha explained.
One of the producers Maha met was Amina Al-Ramadna, who owns a small factory named Green Fields that she established in 2004. The factory produces cold-pressed oils and essential oils from all kinds of seeds. As Ameena was producing massive quantities of coconut and almond oils, she also found a business opportunity in producing coconut and almond flours from the excess left after producing the oils. Maha was excited to find a local producer for coconut and almond flours, and immediately made an order from Green Fields to supply the café on a regular basis.
In addition to buying raw materials from local suppliers such as Green Fields, Primal also provides a retail shelf space for local businesses, giving them valuable exposure to the café’s customers. These include products made by women-owned businesses such as soy wax candles made with natural ingredients, customized tea blends, olive oils, herbs, honey and molasses.
With the grant funds, Primal established a training program to enhance the export capabilities of nine local, women-owned businesses (who are Primal suppliers, such as Green Fields). The training program encompassed comprehensive topics such as knowledge and management strategies in administration, finances, communications and marketing, human resources, accounting, legal compliance and quality control.
Three of the nine businesses were not formalized, so with the support of USAID LENS, they were able to register and become legal businesses, so their products can become part of the retail line.
In addition to the educational training component, Primal also supported the businesses to become export-ready through increasing their production capacity. For example, the grant enabled Primal to purchase a new machine for Green Fields that enabled them to increase their flour production tenfold.
“Once we start operating the grinding machine that was granted by USAID LENS, we will be able to multiply our supply of coconut and almond flours and be able to distribute to new outlets.” Explained Amina.
Small businesses benefit greatly from being in the supplier network of larger, more connected businesses like Primal. For example, Primal is a driver of growth for these small businesses, as it plays a key role in improving them and ensuring that the products it is buying from them meet national and even international market standards. Once Primal becomes a franchisor, these local businesses will be ready to export their products regionally and internationally through any of Primal’s franchisees.