top of page

From Homegrown Londoner To Scottish Food Entrepreneur: How Khalid Elmourei Grew His Family Business






How Do You Take Over A Legacy And Make It Your Own? Blocks2Bags Talks to Khalid For His Advice After Growing His Family-Run Takeaway.


It is no secret that London is one of the business capitals of the world, with an estimated 1.04 million private sector businesses operating there in 2023 alone. To innovate seems as natural as breathing in the city; surrounded by the signs of a generational and hungry wealth – the suits, the watches, and the buildings that frame you – it seems unquestionable that this is the place to be.

But here at Blocks2Bags we look to find the hidden, less obvious solutions to success and gems buried underneath all the noise, with our latest guest epitomising this.


In the latest episode, Sebuh Mesfin and Micky Tesfaye talk to Khalid Elmourei , an entrepreneur based in Elgin, Scotland, whose journey to success was, at the heart of it, a generational effort. With his Dad and Uncle running businesses since the 80’s, his takeaway Pino’s Pizza is built upon this foundation of a hard work ethic and the importance of never just being content with easy steps forward. But how do you start in a new place – and keep going – while staying true to the core of what your family began?


GENERATIONAL AVENUES


Growing up in London as the son of a Moroccan immigrant, Khalid saw first-hand the journey his Dad and Uncle took to grow their businesses over decades. With his Dad immigrating to London at 18, the battle to build a foundation was not just one of a business nature, but also one of tackling a system of treating migrants as second-class citizens head on. “A key difference I notice in our parents and us”, he said, “is they just tapped into a level of resilience that doesn’t exist anymore”. Ultimately, resilience here wasn’t a choice, as opposed to a means to survive.


But with family ventures, modernity and tradition are not mutually exclusive. For example, outsourcing help for your business as opposed to the mindset of taking on every task by yourself may be the decision that ends up working better in your favour. Pino’s is this mindset in action – a takeaway in an unconventional place, with stricter standards on food production, it’s fared incredibly well, at standards that are difficult to attain for restaurants.


Only sticking to tradition can be a barrier; but with Khalid, building up his business since 2012 meant ensuring that these generational ties were inbuilt in the modern fabric of Pino’s.


WORKING WITH FAMILY


There is no pretending about it – working with your family is not always easy. But how do you balance the professional aspects of a business and the personal aspects of family? He admits that it hasn’t always been easy, especially with culturally bounded notions of respect being incredibly important. Relaying how he initially clashed with his Dad over the move from London to Scotland, he reflected on how moving was one of the best decisions he ever made to open his mind – and his Dad’s ultimatum turned things around for him.


And it didn’t just start there; from being given his first job by his Dad in Blackfriars Train Station at 11 or 12, to being trusted alone in the shop at 12 to 13, to being given the keys at 16, the process was harsh, but needed. For an “unforgiving business”, sometimes, said Khalid, you learn from an unforgiving attitude.


For the key to moving forward with family, Khalid had two key takeaways:

  1. “Always make them feel like they’re right”: Respect is key; division only creates another block in the road

  2. “Pick your timing”: Let business take the backseat when it needs to – sometimes this is the only way to push things even further forward


WHY ARBITRAGE IS KEY


Elgin, Scotland, isn’t necessarily the first place you’d look to for starting out a business. Our hosts and Khalid dissect this perception of starting and going from blocks to bags — when you grow up in places like London, where wealth is all-too-visible, is it worth looking out of this sphere?


This is where arbitrage comes in. Maybe building a business from scratch looks better from the outside looking in. But with Khalid’s move to Scotland challenging a lot of inbuilt ideas about how to start, he argued that sometimes recycling a good business venture and bringing it somewhere unconventional, with a clear gap in the market, ends up as the more profitable choice.






TOP GEMS FOR BREAKING INTO ENTREPRENEURSHIP


The path to success is not linear - but there are a few things that can help you on the way:

  1. Don’t be short-sighted with your growth: You never know what’ll kick off your journey, so don’t look at menial beginnings as a roadblock. You never know who’s watching you, so if you care about the bag, don’t just prioritise perception.

  2. Arbitrage, Arbitrage, Arbitrage: Innovation can come from places that are familiar to you. See how you can create something new from the old.

  3. Diversifying your thought process is key: Stagnancy is the easy choice - putting yourself in uncomfortable situations that challenge your thinking is the only way to progress.

For more on Khalid’s journey and family-grown businesses, check out the latest episode here.

And make sure you sign up to the Blocks2Bags newsletter for the latest on everything from entrepreneurship, tech and culture.

Comentarios


bottom of page