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Bassel Shreiqi & Maaz Ashraf

Bassel had been running Taza (restaurant) since 2014. Initially, it was just food: Shawarmas, Kebabs, Hummus, Toshkas among others. Before moving to Nepal, Bassel was in Dubai for about eight years. “I worked in Finance & Administration in retail companies and before that I was in Syria studying and working in jobs such as packaging, kitchens. The main idea I had with Taza and now with Taza Treats is to bring all the exciting food and sweets to Nepal that I used to get in my country. To introduce these incredible range of food hits me with nostalgia but it’s all new to the Nepali palate,” states Bassel.

Maaz, on the other hand, had always been passionate about the hospitality business. Bassel and he started Taza Treats almost a year ago and both claim that it has been a beautiful journey. Maaz also has a marketing agency called Hype. According to him, his superpower is to create human connection between brands and their customers. Pre-pandemic he was working as the head of marketing for NIU E-scooters in Nepal. Apart from that, he has worked in hotels such as Dwarika’s and in the UK where he studied.

The first product from Taza Treats was Baklavas but the market study went on for almost two years. “We love our sweets in Nepal. Initially, the purpose of the company was to offer something different in the range of sweets but now as the company expands, we are increasing our range of products. We are opening a little pop up store in Jhamsikhel and will be providing bakery items and more! All authentic food from Syria that is locally baked every day,” claims Maaz.

In this edition of Business 360, the innovative duo talk about their pick of top brands and what they learned from some of them.

Top 4 apps that you use the most

Maaz: Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook and Scrabble!
Bassel: Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp and Fotmob!

3 destinations within Nepal you want to travel to

Maaz: Mustang, Chitwan and Pokhara any day of the week!
Bassel: Ilam, Rara lake and Manang

Women-run businesses you think deserve accolades

Both: Firstly, Taza and Taza Treats! Little known fact, Sangie (Sangita), Bassel’s wife is the back bone of both businesses. Besides that, On the Record, Makkuse, Timro Concept Store, Best Paani and Subhash Printing Store!

An entrepreneur who inspires you

Maaz: Vikrant dai from Fightback
Bassel: Ahmed Dulla (TFT)

A non profit you want to contribute to

Both: WFP (World Food Programme)

The best work advice you have received

Maaz: “Don’t forget to eat lunch” – my mom.

If you could change ONE thing about the present entrepreneurial scene in Nepal, what would that be?

Maaz: People calling themselves entrepreneurs.
Bassel: It’s not one, but punctuality and customer service.

Five words to encapsulate Taza Treats

Authentic, Constant, First-Movers, Passion and Fun

Who among the Nepali influencers do you want to work with?

Both: Priyanka Karki, Ayushman Joshi, Sahana Bajracharya.

3 things patrons can do to promote local businesses

Both: Honestly, it’s not the customers’ job to do this. If the local business is consistent, stick to their values and goals and believe in what they are doing, the ‘patrons’ will have no choice but to promote their businesses.

Startups are important for a country like Nepal because…

Both: Post-Covid with the country taking a hit in remittance and tourism, we believe that startups can be the new backbone to Nepali economy.

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