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Thu 23 Aug 2018 09:20 AM

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Dubai nightlife's resident trailblazer eyes Asia expansion

Addmind CEO, Tony Habre, who leads an entertainment giant that counts White, Iris, Matto Restaurant in its portfolio, says increasing competition is major challenge

Dubai nightlife's resident trailblazer eyes Asia expansion
Top performance Habre says Dubai has a different maturity due to its cosmopolitan state

Is there a moonshot idea you are pursuing in your business?

We can’t declare it just yet, but it will be an innovative value addition to the Dubai market. Our main business goals right now are enhancing the Addmind values, structure and our customer service department.

What does diversity mean to you? How are you pursuing this in your organisation? Are there any tangible results you can share?

Hailing from Lebanon, diversity means a lot to me. Lebanon boasts more than 18 official religions and sects, and despite being famed for our hospitality, peaceful coexistence has been a struggle to achieve. At Addmind, I’ve been trying my best for everyone feel like they belong to a family. In Dubai, a cosmopolitan city and one of the world’s most famed melting pots, it has turned out to be extremely satisfying, and a lesson to learn from.

With fluctuating exchange rates, economic uncertainty, and a new emerging demographic, how do you keep up with the pace of change?

We are certainly affected and challenged by all of these. They affect the mood, morale and spending power of our customers. But I’m relieved that we work in the entertainment business, because it affects us less than in other sectors in the economy. In our venues, we like to keep the outside world, well, way outside. Which is why we’re big advocates of what I like to call ‘peace partying.’ No news, bad or good, can infiltrate our outlets.

If all goes well, where do you see Addmind going in the next five years?

In the nearest future, I hope to see Addmind grow into two more countries. At the moment we’re looking at Asia.

What’s the single biggest challenge facing your industry today?

Increased competition in the market. You have a lot of people investing in this industry because I’m sure it looks very easy to carve a piece out of it, but it takes trust, willpower and a lot of perseverance to overcome challenges and develop a following.

How has social networking impacted your organisation?

Social networking has definitely benefitted us and our brands, but I also believe that products win with their impact – that’s more important than image, brand or online presence. We ourselves admire brands that’ve gone off social channels to focus on their product, and how they’ve nailed that.

What are three characteristics that you believe every leader should possess?

Humility, patience and positivity.

Finish this sentence, “the world would be a better place if only….”

I’d like to quote Richard Branson: “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”