Ebeneezer’s Founders on Business and Creating Hong Kong’s 'Best Kebabs'
December 20, 2022
Quick eats on university campuses, refuelling after a night out in Wan Chai or Lan Kwai Fong or to satiate a salty craving for lunch—these are all classic culinary experiences at one of Hong Kong’s kebab and curry chain restaurants, Ebeneezer’s Kebabs and Pizzeria.
Seeking to chart the success of Ebeneezer’s across Hong Kong, we spoke to co-founders Sunny Rekhani and Anil Rekhani of Rekhani Hospitality Group on operating all stores of the franchise, the identity of the chain, difficulties operating in Hong Kong, and its competitive future.
Why does Hong Kong need Ebeneezer’s Kebabs and Pizzeria?
Hong Kong has a multi-cultural society. The restaurant Ebeneezer's is distinctive in that it combines Middle Eastern, Indian, and Western cuisines to satisfy the tastes of patrons from various cultural backgrounds.
We specifically target different customer segments, and this is something that makes us unique. We don't rely solely on customers from a single cultural background.
Was it difficult to establish a brand that offers a different cuisine from the norm of most Cantonese, Western, and Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong?
Yes, it was challenging, made more so by the fact that, in addition to being a restaurant chain offering fusion cuisine, our food is also Halal. However, this is possible as we source and import our meat directly from other countries
What do you think has been the biggest challenge operating Ebeneezer’s since its establishment in 1993?
The current COVID-19 era would be the most challenging time for all restaurants, due to the never-ending restrictions faced from early 2020 till the end of 2022.
How has Rekhani Hospitality Group adapted with Hong Kong’s changing cityscape in the late 2010s with regards to changing tastes and COVID-19?
We continue to evolve and adapt to the latest environments, trends, and technologies. We also continuously experiment our recipes and continue to innovate, ensuring that we satisfy our customers' evolving tastes. We have team-meetings and tasting sessions to achieve this.
What motivated your business to cater specifically to halal Hong Kongers, students, and locations in “drinking districts” of Hong Kong?
After having a drink, a juicy kebab is what one usually craves. Therefore, it was an instinctive decision to open branches in drinking-districts like Central, Wanchai and TST, and to keep these branches open overnight.
What is your favourite Ebeneezer’s meal to order?
Chicken Tikka with Chips with gravy on top, and a Gyros Chicken Kebab, with a flavourful Mango Lassi.
What do you see in the future of the industry?
People will always need to eat, and thus we believe this industry will survive. Though, there will always be challenges, given the current economic outlook of Hong Kong.
Nevertheless, we believe Hong Kong will rebound quickly once it opens up its economy and revives its tourism sector.
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