There are eight finalists in the F&B Manaer of the year category in our sister publication Hotelier Middle East's Hotelier Awards 2018.
Etienne Haro, executive assistant manager – food and beverage, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah
In charge of the F&B offerings at one of Dubai’s most illustrious hotels, Etienne Haro has made it his mission to make it more inclusive, helping over 1,500 Dubai residents visit Burj Al Arab during Jumeirah Restaurant Week. His new online live-booking app generated over AED 2m in extra revenue in 2017 as he tapped into the number of tourists keen to get a proper look at the hotel. To improve staff morale, he has introduced a ‘Thank You’ card scheme where colleagues can recognise the good work put forth by their peers with the best of the best recognised at the hotel’s annual award ceremony.
Can Ali Selik, F&B manager, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa
Can Ali Selik has spearheaded the ‘beach buggy butler’ concept which allows guests to order drinks direct to their place on the beach without the need to walk to a restaurant or bar, bringing in more than AED 42,000 extra revenue within a month. His new look F&B menus at the Sol Bar renovation generated AED 500,000 extra revenue in comparison to the year before, proving his entrepreneurial skill is no stroke of luck. He has also proven his willingness to go above and beyond in helping hotel guests, even without being asked.
Firas Hasanat, director of F&B, Movenpick Resort Petra
Proving that original thinking pays off, Firas Hasanat, who has served the Movenpick Resort Petra for over 20 years, decided to bring outside catering to the hotel. Now it accounts for 45% of F&B turnover. As well as completely renovating the Al Ghadeer Roof Garden restaurant to turn it into a traditional Arabic grill resulting in a tripling of revenue within two months, Hasanat showed his originality, and sense of fun, by organising an ‘outside hotel check-in’ which had the guests looking for their room keys on the necks of sheep. This daring idea proved popular with the guests and saw an increase in customer satisfaction.
Hemant Shekhawat, F&B manager, Taj Dubai
The continued positive growth of the Taj Dubai’s F&B outlets has been put down to the fine financial prudence of Hemant Shekhawat. He has secured large sponsorship deals that have kept the hotel well on its way to achieving its financial target this year, with the F&B departments showing a growth of almost 30% compared with the previous year. A brunch devised as a new idea by Shekhawat has proved so popular it alone now accounts for 5% of the total F&B revenue, and is expected to rise to 10%.
Marco Rosado, director of F&B, Atlantis The Palm
Working at the head of a large team from around the globe at Atlantis The Palm, Marco Rosado has put training at the forefront, creating a video journey that highlights what a guest should experience from the moment they set foot in the hotel, giving staff a visual understanding of what is required of them. It has worked, with Saffron receiving 100% in its mystery shopping score in both 2017 and 2018 to date. He has also improved morale and his team’s upselling by creating a cash incentive for the front of house. Most significantly for Atlantis team members, he has reduced split shifts by 30% and overtime by 50%, allowing staff to spend more quality time with their family and friends.
Farzan Ansari, director of F&B, Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach
Despite it usually being a very challenging time for the F&B market, Farzan Ansari oversaw a growth in revenues of 34.8% during Ramadan, with covers up almost 20%. In a move which both helped the environment and the hotel’s bottom line, Ansari introduced linen coasters instead of paper ones, with a saving of over AED 100,000. The F&B offerings at the venue have proved so popular that two of them are ranked in the top 35 restaurants in Dubai according to TripAdvisor – out of almost 10,000 venues. Despite his success at the top, Ansari isn’t scared to get his hands dirty and can regularly be seen parking cars if assistance is needed in that department or setting up the kid’s area if they are shorthanded. Leading from the front and by example.
Sabu Joseph, banquet/F&B manager, Crowne Plaza Dubai – Deira
Sabu Joseph’s flair for the big events has been on show this year, as he successfully executed one of the biggest banquet iftar events in Crowne Plaza history, with over 1,350 people in attendance. A keen salesman, Joseph also successfully won the contract for the outdoor catering service for a luxury yacht, with an approximate yearly value of AED 1m. He is also the only employee at the hotel to have successfully sold the Crowne Plaza’s ‘Wedding Ring On Us’ promotion which sees a guest spending over AED 60,000 on a wedding at the hotel receive a ring worth AED 15,000 in return. Even while on holiday in India, Joseph has been known to stay engaged with matters at the hotel and make important business calls when required.
Sreejith Purushan, F&B manager, Radisson Blue Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek
Over 18,000 guests attended the Dubai Air Show last year, an event successfully negotiated, contracted, and managed by Sreejith Purushan, resulting in over AED 1m in revenue for the hotel. Purushan also conceptualised and implemented a Friday brunch concept which has proved so popular it is delivering an almost 20% increase in revenue in the year to date. With 132 team members working under him, Purushan has a strong focus on training and goes out of his way to obtain regular supplier training from beverage and coffee suppliers for the team which has proven a great asset in terms of motivation and development.