Five minutes with... Elias Assaad Saad, manager, F&B, business development at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

He talks about his work, his biggest achievement and what he enjoys about his job
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Elias Assaad Saad.
Elias Assaad Saad.

Describe your job.
I manage the daily operations of food and beverage department at Fairmont. I also assist in hiring and training employees to achieve departmental objectives. I establish and enforce standards for food and beverage quality.

How long have you worked in the hospitality industry? Describe your experience.
My journey in this industry started when I was 15 years old, I was a part timer waiter in a Lebanese restaurant.  I learned the meaning of hospitality — it is a place and feeling where one can build their own self-esteem and pride, by providing positive memories and experiences to guests.

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Prior to your current position what were you doing?
I first worked as the operation manager & director of special events at Elite Hospitality, Abu Dhabi from 2005 to 2011. Post that I took up the role of the group operations manager at Etoiles Hospitality, Abu Dhabi from 2012 to 2014. My nest role was that of the director of operations at the Phoenician Restaurant and lounge, Le Meridien Hotel- Abu Dhabi from 2014 to 2016.

Tell us about your hospitality journey
I’ve am a food and beverage manager with over 20 years’ experience in the Middle East, more specifically Abu Dhabi. I have strong experience in standalone restaurant concepts and five-star hotel food and beverage management. I have also worked on pre-opening & building new concepts, marketing, business strategy & development along with achieving operational excellence and loyal customer base.

What are your three biggest challenges?
To make sure all the needs of our guests are met. The high competition in this field and the skilled labour shortage and staff turnover is another challenge that I am working with.

Tell us about your work strategies
I have simple work strategies. Being proactive by implementing new ideas to make sure all demands are met and to promote the company that I work for which will lead to mutual success.

Three things you absolutely enjoy about your job.
I love that my job pushes me every day to be more creative, it also gives me the chance to explore new ideas and implement them. Thirdly, meeting new people and making sure that I meet guest satisfaction and exceed their expectations.

Describe your single biggest achievement.
The single biggest achievement was months ago when I implemented the initiative to donate leftover food of our Friday mega brunch to feed shelter dogs. This initiative was the first in Middle East and Fairmont was the first hotel to implement it.

Your favourite
Advice received: Don’t wait for opportunities. Create them and find a way.
Meal: Rib eye steak medium.
Holiday destination: Turkey.
Hotel stay experience: Argos Hotel – Cappadocia.
Hobby: Collecting snowglobes.

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