When you hear the word “cafe”, perhaps a bunch of names come to mind, Starbucks aren’t the only ones in the game anymore. All are competing in their areas of uniqueness; be it their speciality coffee, the place’s atmosphere, its location (of course you’re gonna like a place more if it’s not an hour away from you; then again, we’re in Bahrain where everything is 5 minutes away), or the great service they provide.
Speaking of great service, we’re bringing you the story behind 7T House straight from its founder: Majeed Sharaf. To build a mental image, 7T House is a tea cafe in Argan Village that’s starting to get recognition for its inclusive vegan options. But it’s more than just a tea cafe (I’m sure you’ve heard that line a dozen times, but trust me, read along this session with Majeed)!
If you’ve paid the tea cafe a visit, the first thing to warm your heart would be the kindness of the owner, Majeed, who graciously welcomes customers, offers them suggestions, and delightfully converses with them as if they were members of his own family.
The beginning of 7T House
When I said it’s more than just a tea cafe, I wasn’t kidding! 7T House is located right above a furniture store (also owned by Mr. Sharaf) called Buka Sofa, making it an interesting shopping route. It apparently all started from Majeed’s love of one simple item: tea!
He’s been an avid tea drinker his whole life (as all Bahrainis), and because of the constant support of his family and friends, he decided to start his own tea cafe business. But who came first, Buka or 7T House? The answer is Buka!
After launching the furniture showroom, a thought of combining both businesses together to offer a different experience to customers came to his mind. He had a philosophy of business that focused on the “Show & Try” concept of the furniture.
Customers would roam around the furniture showroom downstairs, checking out the quality, comfort and selection of the right furniture; and then the fun part begins. “How can I make the customers try and spend a good time using the furniture? This is where 7T House started!” Majeed tells us. He kept the tea cafe upstairs to add an element of mystery. Customers would always go up assuming its the rest of the showroom, expecting more furniture, only to be surprised that it’s a tea cafe!
I’m sure half of you are wondering what’s the deal behind the name! “The inspiration of the name is simple; number 7 is my favourite number! And also, tea has 7 categories of colour. By combining the two items 7 +T, we get an easy, stylish, and modern pronunciation of the name. In favour of modernity and self-care, 7T’s slogan is “It’s all about balance.” Focusing on creating a balance in everything in life.
What’s so special about 7T?
Our approach to F&B is different.” says Majeed. He wanted to make sure everyone feels included in his space, by incorporating different food diets (including vegan and plant-based diets) and their requirements in 7T’s menu items. Although it’s a tea cafe, they don’t just offer tea, obviously. Their menu items range from main dishes (try their vegan egg and avocado sandwich, yum!), to cold drinks (again, you have to try their banana smoothie!), to an endless selection of tea flavours, to even ice-cream.
7T House is actually among the first places in Bahrain to offer a plant-based ice cream bar, with 6 different flavours available for your enjoyment. While inclusivity is key for Majeed, it’s not his only focus. He aimed to include everyone with a price range that again, EVERYONE can afford. You’d be surprised by the cafe’s affordability compared to practically everywhere else.
We’re witnessing times when change is the only constant and awareness is the only way to keep up with that change. People are starting to choose for themselves, and not have things handed over and thought of for them. This is one of the reasons Majeed believes that in the upcoming 5 years, the food and beverage industry will witness an availability of lot more options, and hopefully a lot more inclusivity. He advises young entrepreneurs in the F&B business to try their best to offer different products to complement better lifestyles for just about everyone.
Taking the business a step further
Of course, being in the F&B business means being open to what people really want; especially in terms of menu items and trends. To keep up, Sharaf visits international exhibitions around the world to bring the best trendy and healthy food options to his valued customers to try out first. Upon their feedback, he decides which items are suitable for the menus. Their menu is currently being renovated, so stay tuned for more affordable healthy deliciousness!
I asked Majeed on his tactic of facing stress; as it’s inevitable when managing your own business. His answer was “By drinking the right tea.” Talk about a tea lover! He shares “I want to share my appreciation to our valued customers who put their faith in us, trust us, and come all the way to try our food. I will do my best to make it a different experience. And remember: ‘It is all about balance’”.