Ahmed Irfan Khan is a warm, genuine guy, whose family originated from Hyderabad, and is the founder and CEO of Barkaat Foods, an establishment which is the only USDA certified slaughterhouse remaining in Chicago. Khan graduated from a top U.S. business school and went on to work for the Bank of America before venturing out on his own.
Khan and his family would often take trips out to a farm in Wisconsin where they would purchase hand-slaughtered Zabihah meat. They would personally slaughter the animal themselves and then hire a truck to transport it back to Chicago. So, in purchasing the slaughterhouse, he was also “fulfilling a personal need.” His family assisted him in the purchase of his business, and it presently exists as a company operating in support of Zabihah Halal, which slaughters 1,500 heads of lamb, goat, and even veal on a daily basis. He is currently in the process of expanding, to be able to accommodate the further slaughter of 500 heads of beef each week.
In 2011, he launched Taaza2u, his venture which delivers marinated meats and other meals which are ready-to-cook, making it convenient for clients. His business expanded to include an option which he calls “We Grill, You Chill.” Clients who select this option have the team arrive at their home, office or whichever venue they are using, and his staff sees to all the food preparation, cooking, and cleaning.
Taaza2u has built up a clientele of more than 7,000 over the years. Thus far he has been successful in targeting South Asian Muslims and hopes to expand to other cities in the U.S. where there is a growing Muslim population. He also aims to gain clients from other ethnicities, including Middle-Eastern and African-American.
“His focus on authenticity and a niche market are the key to his business model” and makes use of Islamic principles in the running of his business. In his attempt to finance his expansion, he even opted for an investment firm who could structure a Sharia compliant deal for him.
Khan’s father is the CEO of a company in India, and he has learned a lot from him and accepted his much-needed advice. He credits his success not only his faith but his remarkable parents and close-knit family. He says his brothers keep him grounded, and that “they are the yin to my yang.” The family never fail to set aside time to spend with one another. They even have am Taaza2u cricket team which competes in the summer cricket league.
His advice to young entrepreneurs is always to go ahead, and a take a risk if you’re passionate about something. He also encourages others to be passionate not only about their business but also in making positive changes in their community. Khan states that we as entrepreneurs and business professionals should reach out to fellow Americans to set a good example for them.