What drew you to this role?
To have the opportunity to work with renowned international brands within the luxury portfolio of AccorHotels Middle East is exciting. I will also be working with hotels in Africa and the Indian Ocean [Seychelles]. I do enjoy the diversity of the Middle East region and it’s an exciting prospect to be able to influence change creatively, conceptually, and even operationally with existing hotels as well as new projects.
What skills and knowledge do you bring to this role?
Having worked in Middle East for over a decade, I believe I have the necessary insight to support my ability to immediately effect change. My previous leadership roles include working for a leading Kuwaiti-based retail franchise company that houses over 80 brands and I was required to travel extensively and establish new brands and operations across the Middle East. More recently, I spearheaded a strategic approach to take a large portfolio of restaurants out of the direct hotel management and form an independent commercial restaurant company, which created a turning point for the F&B business within the company.
Are there any specific challenges or opportunities associated with working in this region?
There are exciting challenges and opportunities in this rapidly emerging market. Two such examples that stand out to me would be the opportunity to enhance our training and development of future leaders within the food & beverage industry. A challenge in this market will be to create menus that offer value, competitive pricing and do not need to yield to half-board- and discount- led package promotions.
What do you think of the food scene in Dubai?
Crazy! But crazy is good. We are witness to a plethora of renowned brands, home-grown concepts and new dining cultures being introduced daily. New restaurants tend to begin with high start-up costs, and steep leasing fees. The crazy bit is that not much time is being invested to undertake the in-depth commercial evaluations, which ultimately will support a restaurant’s success.
Name your career highlights so far?
I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed a number of career highlights, however, at this point it is more exciting to look forward with anticipation and readiness for new challenges, and at the same time aiming to create new highs!
How do you aim to make F&B operations more profitable?
Profit is a by-product of revenue, and the main challenge going forward will be to ensure that the F&B portfolio takes an agile approach and adapts to trends. We need to have signature restaurants that add new value and interest and that suitably complement our hotels.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I am most excited about working with great talent: F&B leaders who are committed to driving their businesses forward and taking an innovative approach in doing so; chefs who are passionate, creative leaders; and development and design teams whose creativity will ensure that our restaurants become sought-after destinations in their own right.