Two senior manager appointments at Gates Hospitality

There’s a new director of operations plus a new GM at Folly
Darryl Downs.
Darryl Downs.
James Dawkins.
James Dawkins.

Gates Hospitality has made two additions to its senior management team with the appointments of James Dawkins as director of operations across all Gates Hospitality venues and Darryl Downs as general manager at Folly by Nick & Scott.

Dawkins will be in charge of the operations of Bistro Des Arts, Folly by Nick & Scott, Publique, Reform Social & Grill, Stoke House, The Lion in the H Hotel and Verve Bar & Brasserie in the Grand Plaza Mövenpick Hotel.


The British national will be responsible for the development of the management team, he will also set and deliver goals to promote the company and stimulate growth. Other responsibilities include driving top line sales, overseeing daily activities of all the venues, and working to maintain a standard operating procedure across the venues.

Holding more than 27 years’ of experience, Dawkins has worked as operation manager across multiple companies. These include New Ultra Limited and Spice Inns, along with the position of area manager for Carluccios Restaurants in Dubai, managing three sites across the emirate.

Speaking on his appointment, Dawkins explained: “Gates Hospitality has always been a company on my radar with an intent to have some kind of involvement at some point in my time here in the UAE. Naim [Maadad] and his “local heroes” have successfully delivered multiple concepts both in the local and international markets, offering fantastic F&B options delivered with passion and attentiveness in welcoming and relaxed atmospheres.”

He concluded: “Delivering on the four core beliefs of innovate, belong, enrich and engage I have joined to ensure these beliefs and success are continued and driven through, whilst also ensuring we as a company are working as one team ensuring the continued future success of Gates Hospitality.”

In his new role at Folly, Downs will oversee the front of house operations of the venue, along with maintaining operational standards, implementing policies and upholding operating procedures.

Downs will also be expected to implement business plans for the eatery, in which he will survey restaurant demand, identify and evaluate competitors and prepare finance and sales projections.

As GM, Downs must drive customer growth, grow brand recognition, maintain customer and employee satisfaction and assist in recruitment at the venue.

He comes into the role with more than 25 years’ of experience under his belt. He was previously director of operations for the Ena Restaurant Group, GM for The Hide American Meatery & Bar and in 2011-2014 he was Capitol Bar & Grill GM.

Darryl said: "Folly by Nick & Scott has been one of my few 'go to' restaurants in the UAE since its opening almost three years ago. The combination of Nick and Scott's creative and impactful menu, knowledgeable service and superb wine list have kept folly on the forefront of the rapidly changing Dubai restaurant scene.”

He continued: “I intend to not only hold on to that successful trajectory but also to enhance it with my own touch of personalised service, promising any diner's experience at folly will be truly remarkable. I also want to bring more awareness to The Rooftop at folly, our separate entity above folly, with arguably the best views of Madinat and some spectacular sunsets and a beautiful array of cocktails and mocktails to match. The potential for The Rooftop at folly to grow as its own brand and outlet is immense.”

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