I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Kiyan Sobhani, the co-owner of Humani-T cafe. A must visit local cafe in Halifax, Nova Scotia with two locations serving fresh made gelato, organic coffee, tea, espresso, panini, soup, salad and more! See what Kiyan had to say about the café and his career below. You might learn something!
What was your first job? How did you start your career?
My first job was back when I was in the 10th grade, I worked for Pizza Hut. Later on, I took my undergrad degree in psychology with a vision that I would pursue my master and doctoral studies at the same field. Although it is still my passion, I developed a new interest in the business world after I started working as an employee at the Humani-T Cafe first branch which marked the beginning of my career.
What challenges did you face?
They were mainly related to the lack of business experience, learning and understanding the organization work-flow, and coping with the long working hours.
How were you able to overcome those hard times and deal with areas which you lacked knowledge or experience in them?
Family support and guidance had a big impact for me. Also, by consulting other entrepreneurs in the business world from my network including customers of the cafe.
What was the best advice given to you throughout your career?
The one that comes to my mind now and I believe it inspired me the most, I heard it in a documentary on Steve Jobs and kept in mind the goals I want to achieve: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”.
If you had to go back, what would you change?
To be honest, everything that happened in the past led to who and where I am today, and I would not change a single thing. Even though my background study is in psychology, I would not change that as it helped me communicate better with my employees and customers. I am very pleased with how things naturally worked out.
What do you think are the key elements to achieve and maintain success?
In my case, it was family support and hard work. Also, by creating a customer base targeting different interests to attract several groups such as art, where we encourage local art and display art pieces in the store for sale.
What criteria do you look for when hiring and why?
At Humani-T we pay our employees more in order to keep them satisfied as much as possible, such as, health care benefits. Because if they are unsatisfied with their work, it will increase the risk of them resigning, which will result us paying far more expenses for recruiting and training someone new.
How can you attract the right employees?
Through our ethical relation towards our employees, we created a good reputation for Humani-T Cafe. A strategy I use sometimes in hiring, is to schedule the interview early in the morning. Because the time when he or she show up will give indication of their interest level in the job, also it will reflect the commitment that that person will have on attending shifts.
Where does your brand name come from?
The “T” stands for tea, as part of our brand, because we offer a complete tea house with nearly 100 varieties of loose tea. The word Humani-T is actually pronounced as “Humanity”, because of our vibrant multicultural types of foods and drinks, combined with the modern style atmosphere of the cafe.
A big thanks to Kiyan for sharing his experience with us! Just goes to show that there is a lot of value in what our past can teach us, but we don’t always pursue a career in our field of study! Do you have a similar story? Did this interview inspire you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!