Imagine the queues….
Groningen-based juice and smoothie brand The Smooth Brothers opened a third outlet in Utrecht last week, but as the GROC reports, brother Yama, Ziki and Razi Masoud are dreaming of New York. “We set up the Smooth Brothers with the idea of eventually opening more branches. Our ultimate dream is to open a branch in New York. It may never work out, but this dream does keep us on our toes. It ensures that we stay on the right path”, says Yama.
The Smooth Brothers has been one of few hospitality outlets where things have gone relatively well during the Coronavirus pandemic. “We are lucky,” says Yama. “We see around us that many things are struggling. But it has only become busier for us. ”
The brothers were shocked by the announcement of the first lockdown: “of course we were shocked, because after that very first press conference we had no idea what was still possible,” explains Yama. “We started delivering on day one of the lockdown. Fortunately, it soon became apparent that take-out was possible. And that was important to us, because actually about 80 percent of our customers have already taken off. Despite the fact that the shops were closing, they kept passing by, for example, during a walk through the city. We also noticed that students have a bit more to spend, because they can no longer go to the pub. We regularly have smoothies for an entire house. That is why it is just busy with us!”
What is The Smooth Brothers’ success factor? A fusion of jazz and fruit juice, say the brothers. “Jazz stands for creative freedom, improvisation and flexibility,” says Yama. “We apply those principles in everything. Our businesses breathe jazz. All smoothies are named after jazz legends and we call the menu the line-up. But we are also very flexible and we always try to innovate and renew. I think that this urge for innovation and change also makes us unique. It should not all become “comfortable”. Then we really have to move on!”
From Afghanistan to Zwolle
In 1994 the brothers came to the Netherlands from Afghanistan with their parents. “We are a family of seven, with five brothers. Our father was always an entrepreneur in Afghanistan. At one point war broke out. He thought then – just like we thought during the first months of the pandemic- that it would only take a few months. Nothing could be further from the truth. He decided we had to flee the country, ”says Yama.
The family left for the Netherlands, because father Masoud once studied in Delft and he the country as tolerant country, where he could build another life. After arriving in the Netherlands in 1994, the family lived for several years in an asylum seekers’ center in Markelo. Eventually they settled in Zwolle. The brothers went to study in Amsterdam, Leiden, Nijmegen; and in the US. “But Zwolle remained our base,” says Yama.
Image via the Groningen Ondernemers Courant