A walk on the wild side

UAE: Wild Peeta is UAE’s first fusion shawarma restaurant with the interiors reflecting the social side of its owners, with elements such as the Thought Wall and Twitter Wall.

Two Emirati brothers, Mohamed and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi, started Wild Peeta, and used social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, to advertise themselves and created a fan base before anyone tasted what they had to offer.

Mohamed is the voice behind @wildpeeta on Twitter and said its customers and Twitter followers are what he calls “Goam Peeta” (“tribe of Peeta” in Khaleeji).

“We have democratised our brand and see our followers as our invisible board members, who influence our business decisions on an ongoing basis,” he said. With this mindset, they used social media to ask its tribe what the interiors of its first outlet in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) should look like.

Members of the public were invited onto the premises before its opening to give their opinion on how it looked and what could be tweaked. Wild Peeta founders posted questions and polls online to ask people what they wanted to see in their ideal restaurant.

The idea for Wild Peeta came to the brothers a decade ago. “As part of our business plan, we had to visualise what it would look like, but we couldn’t afford an interior designer,” said Mohamed.

He said it was important to them to have an Emirati identity, which is why pop art donated by UAE national artists adorns the walls.

“We did everything in our power to draw out the Emirati element — through the art, through ourselves as we work at the outlet, and through the music ambience.”

The predominant colour scheme is orange and green. “We chose those to reflect fast, healthy food. There is also some white and a lot of browns that’s represented in the furniture,” said Mohamed.

He added, while the restaurant’s design had to reflect its Emirati roots, he wanted the outlets to be seen as an international franchise to counterbalance the sentiment in the region, where locally made items are not seen as qualitative as compared to what is imported.

The DHCC outlet has since closed, and two took its place: one called Wild Peeta Open Space (OS) at Dubai World Trade Centre and a fast food stand at the Deira City Centre food court.

When the first outlet in DHCC opened, Mohamed said it was just a matter of painting the walls and putting up frames, since they did not have an interior designer.

The Wild Peeta OS opened in April 2011 and Mohamed said the interiors of the second outlet was even more special than the last. The aim of the OS was to create a community space for people to use without any obligation to spend money. One of the brothers’ friends, Randah Taher, a lecturer at the Architectural Engineering department, Sharjah University, asked if there was any way she could help.

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