She is a rising entrepreneur and the daughter of one of the most successful and influential Indians in the UAE. What stands out is her simplicity … cotton salwar kameez and a friendly disposition. Right at the onset, I am put at ease by her demeanor. But slowly, I find out that Shafeena Yusuff Ali (daughter of business magnate MA Yusuff Ali) is a tour de force. And she is set to make a mark in the F&B industry on her own terms.
In conversation with Zenifer Khaleel
Shafeena Yusuff Ali daughter of business tycoon M.A Yusuff Ali is the CEO of Tablez Food Company, which has 30 restaurants under the group. Growing up in Abu Dhabi with moderate beginnings, she saw her father achieve milestone after milestone through hardwood and determination…and decided to follow suit.
She has a Bachelors degree in Finance from Richmond University, UK but being a self-confessed foodie with business in her blood she knew she had to do something new with her passion for fusion food when she came back to Abu Dhabi. So she ventured into the F&B industry ad this led to the opening of the one of the most premier café’s- Bloomsbury’s.
But Shafeena knew that ultimately her passion for food also had to reflect well in the balance sheet to keep the company operational. She realized that she could not rest on her paternal laurels and expect things to be done for her. Hence, she is involved in every aspect of the business from selecting chefs, menus, marketing campaigns, and administrative staff among other things. The quick and rampant success of her restaurants also got her the GR8 Women- ME awards in 2012
Shafeena also loves to socialize, have fun and do something adventurous once in a while. She is an avid blogger and reader and has around 3000 books on kindle. She is famous among her friends for her affinity towards scrapbooking.
Shafeena’s support system has always been her family. Her father is her ultimate role model and her mother is her pillar that cares and fawns over her 4 kids who can be quite a handful. Her husband, Adeeb Ahmed is the perfect partner who helps her hone her ambitions. It has been a role reversal of sorts for their careers as he did an MBA in Hotel Management and she has a degree in finance.
This power-mom balances children, life, work and popularity with equal finesse. She tries to work with passion and achieve success without compromising on her integral values and principles or her strong bond with her family. “It is like you are juggling many balls and you are really good at it. But if one falls down, you don’t quit altogether. You just pick it up and keep improving your skill. And most importantly, forgive yourself for dropping the ball”, she says with a smile.