Sheik Meeran, outlet manager of Toshi Restaurant Grand Millennium Dubai, UAE, speaks exclusively to Hotelier Middle East about his role.
When did you join your present place of employment, and what previous experience or training have you had?
I started my journey in the hospitality industry in 2004 after completing my diploma in hotel management from Annai Fatima University. I had the opportunity to work with different hospitality brands, including Tamani Hotel Marina Dubai, Safeer Internationl Hotel, Golden Group of Company in Muscat, The Checkers Hotel, The Residency Hotel Towers , Marriot Hotel, Chola Sheraton, Sterling Resort and Ramanashree Hotel in India. I have gone through numerous management training courses, including WSET Award, PIC Level 3, Train the Trainer, Supervisory Skills training and many on the job training.
What duties does your role involve and how is it important for the hotel?
I oversee every phase of the hotel’s restaurant operations, from providing quality food and service to making sure that the operations are profitable and guests are satisfied when they leave the outlet. I am very hands-on when it comes to our daily operations because it allows me to be prepared when an unforeseen situation arises. As a restaurant manager I am fully aware when to delegate, and when to handle tasks and situations personally and delegate to my staff.
How is your role evolving?
Working in hospitality is an evolving process and indeed a very interesting one because I meet different kinds of people from all over the world so one needs to know exactly how to talk and deal with them in order to satisfy their needs and most of the time, to exceed the expectations so they will come back to the restaurant. In order to reach your target and ensure customers are happy and satisfied, a manager has to have the right skills and approach, thus, it requires a lot of training. One has to know each and every facet of the restaurant including the process on preparing the meals, how the guests should be seated, distribution of staff especially on busy nights and many more.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I love having a voice, meaning sharing my ideas with the team and working together to make things happen. We all support each other and work together to deliver the best service to the customers. I love being appreciated by our guests because it meant happy and satisfied customers.
What are the biggest challenges of the role?
The biggest challenge is to keep our performance always above par because we are a five-star property, so the quality of food and service that we provide must be excellent, top class and adhere to global standards. In order to achieve this, it requires a lot of commitment and determination and of course, experience.
How do you monitor guest feedback?
Nothing beats the actual feedback from the guests on the day of their visit to the restaurant. You can actually ask them about the taste of the food and you can see from their faces and expressions if they are satisfied. Other tools that are helpful to monitor guest feedback can be through social media, comments card and courtesy calls.
How do you deal with difficult guests or other tricky situations?
Guests come to your restaurant because they want to relax, have a good meal or enjoy quality time with their families, friends or loved ones. Sometimes, there are situations that may lead to them being frustrated, maybe with wrong orders or the servers did not attend to them right away. It may be big or small things that lead to their frustrations so when things like this happen, I personally deal with the concern, apologise for the inconvenience and ensure them that I will personally handle their concern and will come back with a solution. We take note of the concern, discuss this with the team and make sure that such incident will not be repeated.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick is to remind myself that I love my job. When you are happy with your work and have a passion for it, this is enough motivate to give your best when accomplishing your tasks.
What part of your role are you most proud of?
I am most proud of how I have improved in social media ranking, guest satisfaction and the profit of the venue.