By Aalia Khan
Food is a major factor in everybody’s life and the food places in Bradford have become well renowned.
Many people have now become health conscious, and as well as ordering a delicious meal they will consider how healthy it is. As such MyLahore restaurant, founded in 2002 by CEO Asghar Ali and his cousin Shakoor Ahmed, Managing Director, has become one of the most popular go to places not just in Bradford but also in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham with their latest expansion.
MyLahore is a family run business and CEO Ali explains that having a family business has its pros and cons “The pros are the loyalty aspect and the fact that family will put in much more effort and time. And the cons are that sometimes things can be taken personally due to the family emotions.”
Becoming a successful business person takes a lot of hard work and dedication which Ali acknowledges; he says that the key factors in becoming a successful business person and running a successful business are “Passion, drive, hard work, a clear vision and motivation.” He also advises that if one wants to run a successful business they need to always remain passionate and enthusiastic about it, just as he has been about MyLahore, he says “We are still as passionate today about the business as we were when we first started.”
The success story of MyLahore has been evident with their expansion into Leeds, Manchester and more recently Birmingham. Ali says expansion was important for them as “The more we expand the more exposure we get to our concept and it all adds to the brand value.” The ideas for expansion arose when they realised that the successful concepts they had in the cities they were operating in could also work in other cities. For some businesses expansion is not always a viable option and does not always become a hit, Ali advises those whose expansions have failed in other areas to “Go back and focus on your offer and refine what you do and make it so successful that people demand it to be in their cities.”
With the amount of restaurants, cafes and deli bars around Bradford MyLahore has managed to stay on the top since opening in 2002, Ali reveals MyLahore’s secrets to being the best, “We always kept innovating and improving, we never stood still with the successes and we are as passionate today about the business as we were when we first started.”
The emphasis on health and fitness has become stronger today than it ever was and it has become vital for restaurants, cafes and food outlets to think about how healthy their dishes are as well as the taste and appearance. Ali says this is something that MyLahore are currently focusing on as initially they had developed food simply for good taste.
The dishes on offer at MyLahore vary from Indian curries to pastas and salads, Chinese stir fry’s, burgers, steaks, seafood, panini’s and wraps, a kid’s menu and exquisite desserts and smoothies. According to Ali their “Continental range is very popular with the young Asians as they are so used to eating Asian food at home, The curries and grills are popular with the mainstream British population as they love their curries and the desserts are popular with everyone.”
Starting a business in Bradford can be tough, especially a food business. Ali agrees that there is “Extremely tough competition” in Bradford but if people have a dream and desire to achieve something then they should go ahead and do it. He says “If you can succeed in Bradford with a restaurant you will more than likely succeed in other towns and cities.”
When asked if he felt that businesses in Bradford were taking off he responded “Yes they are starting to evolve into better and more sophisticated businesses as the younger generations are applying academic learning to traditional businesses.”
Things you didn’t know about Asghar Ali, CEO of MyLahore:
- Favourite food – Daal
- Favourite hobby – Football
- Favourite place in Bradford? – MyLahore
- Favourite film? – 12 Angry Men
- Favourite holiday destination? – Pakistan
- What profession you wanted to go into as a child? – Professional Football