Head to Head: The Meat Co.

How does the Souk Al Bahar concept stay true to its African roots
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Sebastian Shelbin, chef
Sebastian Shelbin, chef
Nikolaos Babilis, general manager
Nikolaos Babilis, general manager

What is unique about The Meat Co. and how does it compare to its competitors in the market? 

Nikolaos Babilis: Our African heritage – we are proud of our African roots, which are embedded in the flavours of the food we make. Our striking décor captures Africa’s true, colourful personality. We offer iconic views of Burj Khalifa and the fountains — a magnificent sight.

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Sebastian Shelbin: We have a large meat selection including selected meat from different suppliers – Australian, US and Canadian meat. We serve aged meat and introduce the dishes to the guest by demonstrating strong knowledge about the origin of the meats.

How do the front-of-house and back-of-house support each other?

Nikolaos Babilis: Our management treats both sides as a single team and we encourage a mutual flow of communication. We organise frequent common briefings and discuss ideas with each other. We realise that it is important for individuals within a team to respect each other.

Sebastian Shelbin: We engage in team building activities and encourage great communication, especially with meetings and one to one discussions. We have food tasting sessions, which are sprinkled throughout the year to ensure front-of-house and back-of-house have the same knowledge.

How is the pricing strategy justified?

Nikolaos Babilis: We cater to the local market. Also, we take into consideration the cost price as well as the quality of goods and ingredients being used to create the dishes. We are located in a prime dining spot, so we definitely take that into account.

Sebastian Shelbin: The quality plays a great role when it comes to putting in place the final price. The cost price also influences the price. The location and origin of meat is another factor we take into consideration.

What do you do to ensure the outlet is profitable?

Nikolaos Babilis: We see to it that there is an evident consistency in the quality of the food and drinks we offer. We have a very efficient reservation system in place along with a flexible two-top set up. Feedback from our customers and guests is always appreciated and reviewed.

Sebastian Shelbin: Profitability depends upon consistency and quality of the signatures dishes. We also have monthly promotions to get the public interested. We make sure that the staff is given specific training on the menu especially with relation to degustation and origin of the meat.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Nikolaos Babilis: As mentioned previously, we are in a prime spot in Downtown Dubai- a place that is constantly buzzing and sees an influx of people. This means that the rents are also quite extravagant, tackling that is taxing.

Sebastian Shelbin: One of the biggest challenges is to maintain consistent, good quality food with selected meat and gain positive feedback from guests and regulars. But we are able to tackle these challenges successfully.

What does the future of The Meat Co. look like?

Nikolaos Babilis: In one word — exciting. After Meat Co Souk Al Bahar all the other branches will are also set to be fully refurbished. We are always cooking up and implementing ideas.

Sebastian Shelbin: Definitely exciting with the coming in of new signature dishes and the introduction of new suppliers from Canada. We are looking forward to new beginnings with the refurbishment of Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

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