By Louise Oakley
Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi’s new executive assistant manager in charge of F&B, Graeme Ure, talks about his career and what he hopes to bring to the team through his new role.
How did you begin your career in the hospitality industry?
I began my career during the early 1990s at the Hilton Hong Kong,
where I was a management trainee. This was a wonderful experience as the Hong Kong
Hilton at that time was at the forefront of culinary trends and was the flagship
hotel of Hilton International within the Asia Pacific region. Experiencing the buzz
of guest Michelin-star chefs, East meets West fusion cuisine and the vibrancy of
the hotel was a unique starting point.
The Hilton closed in 1995 due to a management buyout so I moved
to the Conrad in Hong Kong and also worked in the independent restaurant sector,
but the financial crisis, combined with Hong Kong being returned to Chinese Sovereignty
in 1997, prompted me to return to Europe
and the position of restaurants manager at the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and
Spa, in St. Andrews, Scotland.
In 2000 I moved to the Al Bustan Palace Hotel in Muscat, Oman
until 2002 before progressing on to other food and beverage managerial positions
with international chains in the Maldives,
Dubai and Abu Dhabi and I have now been in the Middle East for more than 10 years
and my family and I feel very settled in the UAE.
What are your immediate
and long-term plans in your new role?
I was based at the Beach Rotana from 2005-2007 so my immediate
plan is to re- familiarise myself with my team members. In the first quarter of
2011, we are focusing the team for a very busy period with the annual Abu Dhabi
Gourmet festival in February, Michelin-star guest chefs visiting the hotel, the
re-launch of our all day dining restaurant, Valentine’s Day, and the launch of new
menus and promotions across the restaurants. On a longer time frame I will be focusing on setting the key
performance targets of improved customer satisfaction levels and increasing F&B
What do you hope to achieve?
I want to bring an energy
and passion to the role and to be able to inspire my team to reach out and strive
for their individual and our collective goals - and crucial to this is managing
people to successfully achieve the business goals and to execute the business strategy.
I want to establish planning of work and aligning that with strategy
and business priorities, allocating the right resources at the right time and ensuring
that the work gets done. I will be leading and
encouraging the team to bring innovative thoughts and unique perspectives to their
own areas and creating a cohesive team unit and vibe within the hotel’s food and
Did you have a specific
career plan to reach this role?
Over the last 17 years I have steadily built my career to reach
this current position. Earlier in my career I moved across hotel chains to broaden
my experience of different countries and organisations while gaining a step on the
Since working with Rotana Hotels I have had annual performance
reviews where my next growth opportunity has been identified for me. This has involved
me undertaking two pre-opening projects in Dubai
and one short term pre-opening assignment in Syria.
What is it about the F&B
industry that you enjoy?
Being able to make a difference - this is the key aspect. Everybody
within the team works long hours and it’s great to visually see the happiness on
our guests faces when we are able to provide them with an experience that exceeds
How is business in this
industry following the downturn?
We will finish 2010 on a strong note and business for 2011 is
looking very positive. We have had to re-examine our working practices in order
to stay alert and ensure that our services were meeting our customers’ expectations.
We are in the process of re-launching two of our outlets and I’m very optimistic
that they will give us a competitive edge.