It takes hard work for an idea to shape up into reality. From thinking of something to executing that thought fully, one must shed blood and sweat; and the result is always sweet – but in the case of Hussain Shah, it turned out a bit spicy! Shah is one of the founders and owners of “Stone Oven” – the pizzeria which has shot to fame within just three months for providing its customers with pizza’s baked in a traditional stone oven.
Explaining the concept behind “Stone Oven”, Shah revealed that he and his friends wanted to start a business in the food industry, and mainly focus on Pizzas. But given the number of pizzerias currently existing in the capital region, it would have been a struggle to be more than “just another pizzeria”. And so, to tackle these obstacles, Shah and his friends conducted a research into the history of pizzas and how they were baked traditionally – and came up with the idea of a stone oven, the first in the greater Male’ region.
“Usually in the Maldives stone ovens are used to bake pizzas in high class resorts, which are far away from the capital region. So we wanted to give the locals a similar experience and came up with the idea of a stone oven to stand out in the pizzeria industry”
After lighting their stone oven on June 01st, “Stone Oven” has continued to grow day by day – and so has their menu. They recently introduced several new recipes on strong customer demand, including the Chicken BBQ and Choco Marshmallow – two flavors which are very famous among the Maldivians. In addition to this, the menu also offers us two very rare and unique recipes; the “Bashi Pizza” and the “Rehi” Pizza. As I like to call it, it’s pizza with a touch of Maldives!
“We actually made pizzas with several different recipes and we finalized nine after short listing 35 recipes based on the feedback we received”
With their customer satisfaction rate standing at 95%, “Stone Oven” hopes to grow in time. As of now, they are only running on referrals and Facebook promotion – and they have already made a great name in the pizzeria industry, giving cut-throat competition to their opponents. They are also operating with only 12 employees – with both local and expatriate workers.
“Stone Oven” also happens to be the first in the delivery business, who accepts payment by card. As Shah says it, “mobile POS machines were created for this very reason”, though usually people do not practice it. Yet another remarkable service of “Stone Oven” is their delivery times – sometimes you get your order delivered to your doorstep as early as 20 minutes from order time!
They also give a great deal of importance to the customer feed-back that they receive and bring about the necessary changes to satisfy their customers. As such they had recently started calling back their customers, after receiving feedback that sometimes the phone went unanswered.
As Shah revealed, “Stone Oven” hopes to enter the fast-food industry in the near future. They also have plans of expanding “Stone Oven” to a dine-in pizzeria and open another outlet in Hulhumale’ – though these are just plans as of now. “Stone Oven” is mainly focusing on improving their current services and to grow their business more to cater for their growing demand.
Either way, the taste of classic stone oven baked pizzas have left us amazed; and we hope to get more of their services in the future as well.