In our interview with Saddam Shkair, the proprietor of a Syrian sweet shop located in Brussels, we delve into the story of a unique culinary venture that combines traditional flavors with modern business acumen. Saddam's journey began while studying management at the university, where he hatched the idea of introducing Syrian culture to the international community through the sweet delights of his homeland. Four years ago, he realized his vision, opening his first shop in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode and subsequently expanding to a second location in Ixelles. Throughout this entrepreneurial journey, Saddam has relied on the Loyverse POS system to streamline operations and gain valuable insights into his business. Join us as we explore the challenges he faced, his inspiration for embarking on this sweet endeavor, and the Loyverse features that have played a pivotal role in his success.
Can you briefly describe what type of business you have and how did you start your journey?
I have a Syrian sweet shop in Brussels. The idea to open such a business came when I studied management at the university. I thought presenting Syrian culture here in Brussels, in the international community, was a super idea. I started this business four years ago. The first shop was in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, and recently, I opened one in Ixelles. The second store has been open for eleven months. Since the beginning, I have been using the Loyverse POS system.
What inspired you to open a sales point for pastries?
I studied the market before opening my first shop. I noticed that there was no such business in the market before, making me think I had an excellent opportunity. Also, I wanted to open such a shop to introduce the traditional desserts of my country. These sweets are trendy in Syria, a perfect combination of sugar and nuts, and I wanted to bring that high quality of sweets that can be found in Syria to my community here in Belgium.
What are some of the challenges you faced while opening your shop?
One of my biggest challenges was the lack of raw materials to prepare the sweets. There is not even a word for these ingredients in the French language. So, I had to search a lot in the market and find the ingredients that were most similar to the original components.
Since you have opened a unique business, does it mean you have no market competition?
There was no competition in the beginning. Now, there are a few more stores that sell similar products, but still, I am differentiated from them with quality and originality.
Are any specific features or functionalities in Loyverse that have been particularly useful for your store?
The reports are handy. I can find, filter, and export all the reports I need into Excel. Another significant advantage is the remote control of sales. It does not matter where I am; I can always check what is happening in my store. Adding items and organizing them in categories has helped me a lot to make the sales process much faster. I can find the items easily on the sales screen, filtering by categories.
I have found the shift report feature as well. This report allows me to quickly and accurately do the cash reconciliation at the end of the day.
Another important feature that I use is the split payment feature. Sometimes, the customers want to split the payment, and I have used this feature, which is really good.
Of course, all features that Loyverse offers are excellent and valuable, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.
Do you use the Loyalty program for your customers?
I saw it but still needed to implement it in my business. I will leave it for a later moment.
Yes, I use the Dashboard. I like it because it gives me quick access to my sales analytics without opening a browser. Customer Display is not so important to me at the moment. I usually show the customers my screen, and they can see the ticket there.
Do you track the stock of your items?
I track stock of some of my items. It is not possible to track inventory for all of them. For example, I have an item called “Sweet mix,” and the customer can choose different sweets from the shop to combine. Since each customer chooses different combinations, I can’t track the stock using the system.
Is there any advice or words of wisdom you would like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Loyverse is an excellent way to start managing your business. It has helped me a lot to reduce the time of the administration. I suggest anyone starting a business get Loyverse from the start. I did not use Loyverse in my first shop, and now that I used it when I opened the second shop, I can see the difference. Loyverse helped me to understand trends and make business-informed decisions. I noticed from the graph, for example, that I was making few sales on Thursdays. Now, I close the shop on Thursdays and work on other, more profitable days.
My advice is to implement a good system such as Loyverse!