Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amir Rahim, owner of Grounded Kitchen, a local scratch kitchen and general store in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Grounded was established in 2010 as a small, local restaurant and coffee shop known for made-from-scratch food, a trendy atmosphere, and a personal touch that makes customers feel like family. With a fast-growing reputation for exceeding expectations, we expanded multiple times over the years, both physically and digitally.

More than ten years later, we have a solid reputation as a neighborhood scratch kitchen, serving exceptional BBQ and espresso. We are extremely proud of the success of our sheer hard work. We reached milestone goals prior to the pandemic and then got shoved back aggressively as a result of it but have survived the challenges brought on by the last year and a half.

Locally-roasted, top shelf, third-wave coffee
Quality cocktails, carefully-curated wines, and local, craft beer
A made-from-scratch kitchen featuring high-end BBQ

Tell us about yourself

If you've been to Grounded, we've met, I'm hands-on, and passion is an understatement to describe what we do. You've also likely met my wife, daughters, and even the daughters of my head chef. Together, we are all a Grounded Family. As the reviews acknowledged, Grounded's our home, and we love to welcome people into it. Build from the Ground Up.

Words can't explain how proud I am of what we've built. From the initial construction, through renovations and expansions, Grounded is the vision that has become my reality. I often joke that I am a glorified dishwasher, but I think it is important as the leader to engage in any and every job to keep the machine running. I love my job and all that it entails! It's a grind, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Investing in people – Continuing to offer strong wages for all staff members, despite periods of slow revenue, supports long-term business profitability through an awesome team. This makes the business stronger. Having a reputation of integrity, giving back to the community, and inspiring those who will keep the industry alive for years to come, always investing back into the machine and growing the future of the industry. That is the entrepreneurial dream.

I believe the team and I have established that Grounded will always exceed expectations. I always want us to be awesome! I know that we all have the same aligned goals and vision. That's a huge accomplishment. Our guests feel it too. So being a recognized name and brand that is synonymous with great everything is a golden goal that is always at arm's length. We will always aspire to keep that goal just out of reach and then keep reaching for it!!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is the challenge of building stability, the strength of a foundation that will always be around to keep the machine up. That takes reliance, dollars, creativity, and an "all-in" approach. Good luck and Karma, as well as a never give up and never be outworked philosophy. That's hard to maintain day in, day out. Aside from finding and building the right group of humans that share in the goals and vision of my company (which is not impossible, by the way!).

Here are some straight to the point items that are of constant difficulty:
◆ Enhancing marketing strategies and targeted advertising to our new demographic
◆ Assisting with digital transformation to keep up with tech advancements and new possibilities for ordering, inventory tracking, and website development
◆ Investing in great products, techniques, and opportunities for growth, while keeping costs low to put money back into the economy.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I've got 5 points of contact that I feel very strongly about. Build off of these principles, not just words, believe in them in everything you do, and look for the same in others that join you. These are what I think have helped me and that I would continue to take with and say to others:

  1. Creativity
  2. Excellence
  3. Reliability
  4. Determination
  5. Love what you do!

Where can people find you and your business?


Instagram: @groundedottawa

Twitter: @GroundedOttawa

Facebook: @GroundedOttawa

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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