Tony Lina talks about his new role at Riviera Seafood Grill
What attracted you to the general manager position you currently hold?
Choosing to be a general manager in the hospitality department is more of a lifestyle than a career choice. I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years, including seven years in Dubai. During this time, I have seen many restaurants, but for me, Riviera Seafood Grill is one with highly promising potential and a positive atmosphere. Its location, concept and design all set it up for success. In addition, Sunset Hospitality already has a great reputation in the market, and to be a part of such a successful company was a great opportunity for me.
How have your past experiences lent themselves to your expertise in this role?
I am glad to have international experience from Greece, UK, Maldives, and the UAE. Working in a new country every time, with different venues was unique for me. It takes a great amount of dedication, passion, and self-sacrifice to do the job well. You learn something new every day. In this role, you become an expert with time and you continue to grow and develop yourself daily.
What are you most looking forward to as part of this new role?
The first thing I’m looking forward to is stabilising the continuous success of the venue and the team. Secondly, I cannot wait to establish the brand idea and stamp it within the market sphere.
How do you intend to ensure that the venue is both popular and profitable?
The hospitality we offer allows the guests to feel as if they have escaped to the Mediterranean seafront for an evening of great affordable food coupled with an authentic atmosphere. The combination of freshly grilled seafood, impeccable service, incredible pricing, with the perfectly chosen location gives the Riviera Seafood Grill its own unique personality, which is what makes the place so popular. Profitability is what makes holding a leadership position in hospitality a huge challenge, you should be open-minded and flexible all the time. There are integrated systems in place that can help with the team management and decrease the costs when necessary, to increase the profit accordingly.
Can you share your thoughts on the importance of staff training and service culture?
Staff training and service culture are very important for me as a GM as it plays one of the major roles in the industry. Working in hospitality is a team effort, no job is too small. Monthly and weekly training plans are important and daily ‘on the job’ training is a must. It’s important to always train, educate and inspire your team.
What is your favourite thing about the brand you oversee?
I love being part of a great concept. Riviera is understated and comfortable with great attention to detail, and I’m especially proud of the quality that we deliver consistently every day. It’s a wonderfully relaxed setting that everyone can enjoy, and conducive to spending evenings together over long conversations and exceptional food. In that sense its ambiance is very much reminiscent of classic Greek or Italian locations. It’s all about the pleasure of our guests, and simple authentic ingredients and dishes that combine to create incredible Mediterranean flavours.