January 25, 2019 |
My brother Alex and I co-founded M Management Company, a hospitality and F&B firm in Dubai in 2015. The company launched with our homegrown brands Mythos Kouzina and Grill known for its authentic Greek fare and Nola Eatery & Social House. These concepts have enhanced the offering of Greek cuisine in the region as well as elevated the status of Jumeirah Lake Towers as an F&B destination.
We are blessed to be part of a team of hand-picked professionals whose passion, dedication, joie-de-vivre and perseverance have shaped and made a beautiful mark on our brands and have made them stand out.
Prior to establishing M Management Company, we had a 10 year track record managing and operating The Majestic Hotel Tower in Dubai where we successfully developed and operated unique F&B concepts within the hotel such as Elia, The Music Room and Miss Wang. We grew up in Bahrain and therefore have a deep understanding and expertise in the region.
What incident/opportunity led to your decision to open this business?
Having been in the market since 2005, by 2015 we had a real feel that the city could do with some venues with genuine soul. Our familiarity with the city led us to JLT where we felt there was a real opportunity to make a difference and create a product that was warm, approachable, fun, affordable, brands with large personalities that didn’t compromise on high quality food and service.
Greek was a no-brainer for us with our experience of Elia and our Greek heritage. We had a very clear vision for the design, the style of service, the menu and the brand. The concept and brand for the second venue didn’t come to us intuitively. We knew approximately the product we wanted to create but needed to nail down it’s identity to the most intricate details. We enlisted the assistance of one of our best childhood friends who was launching her own firm specializing in just that. When New Orleans came up, Alex and I got that punch in the gut and we knew it was right. The food, the culture of letting the good times roll, the jazz, the styling – there was a plethora of inspiration to draw from. And the idea of Nola was born.
What were the three biggest obstacles along the way and how did you overcome each one?
MEP – The particular spaces were not planned as F&B venues and as such getting the provision of he required electrical loads and designing and executing the necessary MEP infrastructure was extremely challenging. Thankfully Alex has significant technical knowledge in this area and with heaps of patience, perseverance and pure grit (and couple of months delay) we were able to overcome the problem. Just to point out we were one week away from a soft opening in Mythos when we had to rip out the ceiling and re-do the MEP, causing a further 6-week delay.
THE CONTRACTOR GOING BUST – Before completion, the contracting firm that we had engaged absconded as it was unable to meet its financial obligations. How did we overcome that one? With great difficulty. Let’s just leave it at that. Too painful.
THE WAY IN – Before receiving our licensing we were not sure which route and entrance would be approved by the authorities so we planned for two possibilities. Once our licensing was complete we were informed that the approved route would be the one we had as Plan B, and we needed to ensure that our potential customers could find us quickly and easily. We accomplished this with the now highly-instagrammed footsteps and pathway.
What were the three most rewarding moments?
OPENING NIGHT – Honestly, watching customer’s faces light up with surprise and awe as they stepped into the venues made my heart race.
RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR & LEADING HOME GROWN BRAND 2016 – Receiving such highly acclaimed accolades in such a competitive and dynamic market is humbling.
BEING INCLUDED ON THE GRIF CULINARY TOUR – That was one of my most memorable afternoons. I met so many interesting people and engaged in fascinating conversations.
What one piece of advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs?
Look at your business, your offering and your product through the prism of the customer’s eyes.
What are your thoughts on the future of F&B and the industry?
The F&B industry was, is and always will be a dynamic, interesting industry. It is a consumer-driven sector and given that consumer wants and needs are changing at an ever-faster pace, I see the F&B industry adapting and evolving more quickly than it has traditionally, innovating and growing to meet those needs and keep up. Food and drink is important to every culture and it’s something close to people’s hearts, bringing warmth, comfort and sustenance. That’s why the industry will always remain an important part of economic growth and it will transform itself alongside the consumer’s preferences, tastes and habits.
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