Tony Ramy

Hos­pi­tal­ity’s 'Man of the Year'

Hospitality News Middle East - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Chal­lenges and suc­cesses

Shortly af­ter Ramy’s elec­tion to pres­i­dent, the coun­try was over­taken by the food safety cri­sis, a cam­paign against which was held by the Min­istry of Pub­lic Health (MOPH). The Syn­di­cate has adopted the most ad­e­quate ap­proach to cope with the sit­u­a­tion and to sup­port the whole in­dus­try. Ac­cord­ing to Ramy, the Syn­di­cate was at the core of dis­cus­sions re­sult­ing in a long-awaited food safety law that was adopted by the Min­istry of Tourism and the Min­istry of Pub­lic Health. The Syn­di­cate took part in mul­ti­ple ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to gen­eral pub­lic health, such as re­cy­cling cam­paigns for hos­pi­tal­ity es­tab­lish­ments and food safety aware­ness sem­i­nars, as well as high­light­ing in­dus­try tips.

Through a part­ner­ship with the Min­istry of Tourism, F&B op­er­a­tors ap­ply­ing for li­cens­ing, will now need to ap­proach the Syn­di­cate, in or­der to ob­tain a Cer­tifi­cate of Con­form­ity as a pre­req­ui­site. The Syn­di­cate will as­sign mys­tery shop­pers to make sure con­tin­u­ous in­spec­tions are tak­ing place. This will im­prove the longevity of an estab­lish­ment, by en­sur­ing that the own­ers are qual­i­fied to op­er­ate in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, and will also en­hance hu­man re­sources and gen­eral pro­fes­sion­al­ism in the sec­tor.

Ramy’s cabi­net has also lob­bied to lessen the fines of restau­rants that were found to be non-con­form­ing to the MOPH’S stan­dards dur­ing the first food safety in­spec­tions. This new up­date serves the sec­tor’s cur­rent needs and al­lows fair treat­ment for es­tab­lish­ments based on scale and op­er­a­tions,” says Ramy.

Com­ment­ing on his first year as pres­i­dent, Ramy re­marks, “De­spite the many chal­lenges our in­dus­try has faced dur­ing this past year, I am proud to say that the Syn­di­cate was able to ac­com­plish so much and drive so many ini­tia­tives.” Ramy also men­tions that their new of­fice was re­cently ren­o­vated for the first time since 1946.

In­ter­na­tional re­la­tions

He also notes that the Le­banese di­as­pora, cou­pled with the in­crease of Le­banese va­ca­tion­ing abroad and lack of tourists vis­it­ing Le­banon – due se­cu­rity risks – has cre­ated a trend of in­creased sup­ply com­pared to de­mand.

The Syn­di­cate signed the Pri­vate Sec­tor Com­mit­ment to the World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNWTO) Global Code of Ethics for Tourism on Fe­bru­ary of this year, as part of a com­mit­ment to re­vive and im­prove tourism in Le­banon by pro­mot­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the val­ues of re­spon­si­ble and sus­tain­able tourism de­vel­op­ment. More­over, mem­bers of the Syn­di­cate have par­tic­i­pated in trips to the U.S., China, and Be­larus and at­tended trade ex­hi­bi­tions and train­ing sem­i­nars, aimed at at­tract­ing tourists to Le­banon and strength­en­ing mu­tual in­vest­ments. “These in­ter­na­tional trips al­low us to rep­re­sent Le­banon as a leader in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor in the re­gion, im­prov­ing aware­ness for for­eign in­vestors to visit the coun­try.”

Al Sul­tan Brahim awarded

In Septem­ber 2015, Al Sul­tan Brahim was awarded ‘The Best Qual­ity Restau­rant in the Arab World 2016’ by the League of Arab States. Al Sul­tan Brahim was nom­i­nated by the Min­istry of Tourism, from amongst a num­ber of Le­banese Restau­rants. “De­spite the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Le­banon, Al Sul­tan Brahim will in­au­gu­rate its new branch in Beirut Cen­tral District, span­ning 1,800 square me­ters, with con­tem­po­rary and eco­log­i­cal de­signs, along with mod­ern kitchens fea­tur­ing the high­est food safety stan­dards.” In­vest­ment in this prop­erty has risen to USD 6.5 mil­lion.

Up­com­ing ven­tures

Tony Ramy pre­vi­ously launched and cur­rently man­ages nu­mer­ous con­cepts in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor – in ad­di­tion to Al Sul­tan Brahim and Di­wan restau­rants in Le­banon and the re­gion, in­clud­ing Al Fala­manki, BO18, Trainstati­on, and Mama Pita Mediter­ranean Grill (Texas, USA).

Ramy is also ex­pand­ing some of these con­cepts in the re­gion, in­creas­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties and bring­ing the Le­banese fla­vors to dif­fer­ent parts of the re­gion. These in­clude two Al Sul­tan Brahim out­lets in Kuwait ex­pected to open in 2016, with a USD 8 mil­lion in­vest­ment. Al Sul­tan Brahim is al­ready fran­chised in Qatar and open­ing soon in UAE. Mood Vil­lage, the com­pany be­hind Al Fala­manki, is open­ing an out­let in Dubai in March 2016. It will be lo­cated at the Jumeirah Beach Road Ho­tel. In­vest­ment in the prop­erty is USD 6 mil­lion.

On another level, Ramy is also plan­ning to open a new Mama Pita out­let in New York in 2017. Mama Pita, a Mediter­ranean spe­cialty grill restau­rant de­signed for the U.S., was first launched in Dal­las.

On the lo­cal side, Di­wan Beirut un­der­went a facelift giv­ing it a more ca­sual iden­tity, and is plan­ning an ex­pan­sion across the coun­try and abroad. Another Al Fala­manki is sched­uled to open in Beirut in 2017. It will be lo­cated in Raouche area, and will re­place the old Nasr Restau­rant. The prop­erty will have a 1,500 m2 of space over­look­ing the Pi­geon Rocks, and can seat up to 800 guests. It also has a USD 5 mil­lion in­vest­ment.

De­spite the many chal­lenges our in­dus­try has faced dur­ing this past year, I am proud to say that the Syn­di­cate was able to ac­com­plish so much and drive so many ini­tia­tives

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