By Louise Oakley
Jumeirah Restaurants managing director Phil Broad and Caprice Holdings operations director David O’Brien on how they will establish The Ivy as an institution in Dubai.
After months of anticipation, not to mention countless rumours,
Jumeirah Restaurants has finally revealed that it will be bringing famed London celebrity haunt The Ivy to Dubai. January 1, 2011 will signal a new era for
Jumeirah Group’s decade-old Emirates Towers Hotel when expat favourite Scarlett’s
will be closed, undergo a full renovation and reopen in the spring under the completely
new guise of The Ivy.
Much as the introduction of such an established brand — The Ivy
has just celebrated its 20th birthday — is a great coup for the Middle East’s culinary reputation, it also raises several
questions. Firstly, of all the locations Jumeirah Group has access to, why was this
venue chosen, and secondly, how will Jumeirah replicate the success and image of
The Ivy in Dubai, a vastly different dining market
to that of London?
Jumeirah Restaurants managing director Phil Broad, who has been
involved with securing the rights to The Ivy through the brand’s owner Caprice Holdings
from the outset, is adamant that The Boulevard at Emirates Towers
is the perfect setting for The Ivy.
“I think number one it’s a very exclusive boulevard, it has some
very good high end brands; there’s access, whether it be valet, parking or all the
entrances; it is also a very renowned building and it’s a business travellers’ hotel.
Also, I believe that it is a high-end, mid-casual dining brand that fits very well
with his hotel,” says Broad.
To the unfamiliar, The Ivy is known as a celebrity hangout, famous
for always being fully booked weeks out. However, what has really secured its stellar
reputation is its passion for fresh, classic British food and attention to its guests’
needs, says Caprice Holdings operations director David O’Brien, who is based in
“I think The Ivy has had 20 years of being very close to its
customers. It has this perception of being a glamorous restaurant but more importantly
it’s about looking after your regulars. Globally, we work very hard to know our
customers and to work with them and make sure we look after them and that’s the
key to making it a success,” O’Brien explains.
It is this, along with the use of the right ingredients, that
Broad is confident Jumeirah can replicate in Dubai, drawing on the success of Rivington Grill
as an example.
“The Caprice brands are British restaurants and so we’re bringing
in product from the UK
almost daily. The Jumeirah supply chain is extremely strong,” says Broad.
The Dubai Ivy will also share the same look and feel of the London restaurant as both
are designed by Martin Brudnizki.
“You’ll see the glass that you have in The Ivy, there will be
iconic images that will make people realise that it is The Ivy from London and we
will also make sure that the artwork that is represented in the restaurant is reflective
of the local market, which is what they do in London,” says Broad.
These elements combined will lead to The Ivy in Dubai generating a similar level of demand to The Ivy in London, says Broad.
“If you look at The Ivy, it’s one of a few restaurants that has
a call centre that can take 1000 to 1200 calls a day from people trying to get a
table. That’s one of the most impressive statistics I’ve heard in 30 years of being
in the restaurant business.
“Once we open here in
the spring, some of that knock-on effect will be here. People will know that The
Ivy is also in Dubai and I think we’ll get some of
those people travelling and perhaps even staying in the Emirates Towers
because they can actually dine in The Ivy. I believe here, after three to six months,
you’ll struggle to get a table in the evenings,” asserts Broad.