We can all agree that it’s challenging enough to start one’s own business let alone expand it around the world. However, a Lebanese entrepreneur was able to overcome all challenges. Christine Sfeir didn’t only launch her own business, but also expanded it in several Middle Eastern countries before finally bringing it to New York City- the world’s center for art and culture.
Christine has always been determined to have her own business and pursue her passion for food and culture. At the age of 22, she brought the leading coffee chain, Dunkin Donuts, to Lebanon. This has given her the experience needed to later start her own international business. In 2008, Christine opened Semsom restaurant in Lebanon. From day one, the restaurant was a hit and it didn’t take long before it expanded in other Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. In 2013, Christine was joined by her sister, Carine, a creative strategy consultant, and the two sisters decided to take Semsom to New York. In May 2015, they opened a branch in NYC, following it with another one in 2016. The two sisters plan to have 200 outlets across the state by 2020.
When Christine first launched her business, she realised that it is important to be authentic when serving her customers and so she roamed local villages with a team to collect original Lebanese recipes. This makes the experience in Semsom quite extraordinary for customers. Those who want to relax and eat good food after a long day were immediately attracted to the restaurant’s casual, bright, clean decor and tasty Lebanese traditional food made with a modern twist.
As for her innovation and accomplishments, Christine has received numerous awards including best business woman in the Middle East in 2011. She has also been listed as one of the top 100 most powerful Arab women in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Arabia Magazine. And in 2014, Sfeir was ranked #19 among a list of 200 of the most powerful Arab Women in Family businesses in the MENA region in Forbes Middle East!
Through Semsom, the Lebanese entrepreneur spreads her culture, while sharing tasty, affordable food with the world.
Don’t forget to smile 🙂 !