Hi there, please tell us a little bit about yourself! Who are you? What do you like to do for fun?
Hi, my name is AbdelAziz Khalil. I am an Engineering Management Masters student who also happens to have co-founded and operated one of best reviewed coffee shops in Palo Alto. I love learning new things, socializing, and traveling.
Can you tell us what you do as a Co-Founder for BackYard Brew for those who are unfamiliar?
Being a Co-Founder of a small business, there are many hats to wear. My day-to-day activities vary depending on what needs to be done. It could be roasting coffee beans, running the espresso bar, being a cashier, going to pick up fresh green beans, or simply playing the host at our shop. We are very family oriented and we aspire to make everyone feel like they are at home.
How did you decide to pursue your specific career? What pivotal moments pushed you to where you are now?
It started as a small idea with my cousins. We decided that our area was lacking an outdoor coffee shop and my cousin Ryan (Co-Founder and Owner) is great at taking ideas and transforming them into reality. Everything started as a small project and would eventually bloom into a full-on business within a short period of time. I would say the main motivation behind starting the shop was our family coming together and building something we are passionate about.
What programs & tools do you use everyday for work? What do you like/dislike about these programs?
When COVID-19 started, we had to think of new and innovative ideas to generate a stream of income as foot traffic slowed down. We decided to sell customized coffee roasts and blends to fit customers specific needs. The main tool we relied on was Trello, a project management software that allows you to create tickets and track progress. Trello worked great as it became a seamless communication tool among crew members to handle online orders and make sure every order is fulfilled.
Any advice on how to stand out and get hired for those starting off? or advice on getting started for those who are entrepreneurs?
The most important thing is working on something you love and doing it with people you trust and care about!
A MUST-HAVE resource would be people-skills because running a coffee shop heavily relies on building a strong relationship with your community and customer base. I highly encourage all people to land service industry jobs because it teaches you soft skills and how to effectively communicate with people.
What are 3 character traits that would make someone excel in your field?
Optimism, Open mindedness, and being aware of your surroundings
Most satisfying & difficult thing about your job?
Most satisfying thing about the job is meeting amazing people on a daily basis. The most difficult (yet satisfying) part is the amount of dedication it takes to run a successful business.
What would you like to say to your younger self?
Do more, regret less, and give yourself a break.
Best advice you've received/heard?
What if it turns out better than you've expected?