Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May, 2021 at 2:49 pm by Andre Camilleri
Eeetwell is a name that has become synonymous with healthy eating with the Maltese islands, introducing a new concept to the country is no easy feat. The Malta Business Weekly speaks to Ammar Soltan, the powerhouse behind the chains rapidly growing success
Originally from Libya, Ammar Soltan came to Malta when he was 19. He worked in various sectors with a desire to find himself until he saw the challenge to start a business centred around healthy eating. Here is when Eeetwell was born – the first store opened in 2015 in Paceville and has since expanded to 14 outlets with one in Belgium.
Soltan describes Eeetwell as “Your healthy choice”, and by making the brand highly accessible and affordable across the islands, it is now indeed a choice for us all when grabbing a quick, healthy take away. It’s clear that the passion he has for natural local good food is at the heart of the popular brand.
One of the secrets behind his menu is that Eeetwell offers seasonal menus without any additives.
“One of our core values is supporting local producers. We do this by sourcing at least 30% of our products from local suppliers and hiring as many local employees as possible. We try to get as much as we can out of the island.”
The young entrepreneur believes that every brand must try to create the change itself. “We have this mission, so we are expanding it far – we’ve opened a store in Belgium and will soon open in Dubai, Spain and Italy. I believe every brand must become the change they want to see… and we are applying it across all of the stores”.
What is the recipe behind Soltan’s success? Launching in 2015, Soltan’s immense success with the brand didn’t happen overnight; he explains overcoming barriers by a shift in focus,
“In the initial stages, it was difficult to pick up momentum. However, things gradually began to improve. We shifted our focus towards high-quality food and the customers; from that point onwards, we saw our growth rocket at a phenomenal pace.
In the beginning, we also faced challenges in shifting public perceptions of healthy food. Snack foods such as pastizzi are very ingrained in the Maltese culture. Some people told us, ‘you think we’re sheep, eating greens?’. But we make sure to respect all cultures and opinions, from vegans to meat lovers, and cater for all requirements.”
Soltan explains that the achievements behind the brand boils down to his staff, “Ultimately any company is about people, and at Eeetwell I strongly believe in investing in their training and education. Our staff genuinely believe in our mission to create change and the importance of healthy eating. Building a positive work environment for everyone from the kitchen to front of house is essential. We also work hard to encourage sustainability and promote the awareness of this by using compostable and eco-friendly materials within our packaging.”
Did the pandemic quell Soltan’s success? “Across the pandemic, we grew our delivery services. In fact, over the last year, we opened five new stores. I believe Covid has made us increasingly aware of our health and the importance of staying healthy. We worked hard on our digital presence by spreading messages of positivity throughout our social media platforms. Being consistent was paramount to us, from our posts to our branding.
Many of our customers are return customers who love some of our menu classics, such as the Patong beef and Punjabi chicken. Sometimes we change the menu due to seasonality – and customers always ask for these dishes to return!”
Asked which business moguls does he look up to, Soltan did not hesitate, “Steve Jobs. His company doesn’t think only about money but tries to be as sustainable as possible. I think we can learn a lot from other business people’s mistakes, so we don’t make them, in fact, my favourite film is The Founder, about the creation of McDonald’s.”