Ever dream of opening your own restaurant? Here's what you need to keep in mind

The secrets to successfully climb up the F&B career ladder that every millennial and Gen-Z executive should know, are quite the life skills one could acquire, ire

by Purva Grover

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Published: Thu 9 Mar 2023, 5:25 PM

When asked what you would like to do —if you had the time and the money — one amongst every few individuals say that they’d like to open a restaurant. Yes, amongst the top five dreams that many of us have includes opening up a restaurant. Food invokes passions and such emotions that even the non-risk takers amongst us harbour the desire (muster up the courage too) to have our own restaurant or cafe, someday. However, the reality is that it may be easy to dream, but isn't an easy ambition to pull off. “The F&B industry is a glamorous industry, and you are constantly exposed to a ‘reel’ life. Adventure and new experiences are also a part of life’s journey, but as you start discovering who you are, where you want to be, and what you want to achieve, you’ll also learn that saying ‘no’ to distractions, wrong career moves, temporary temptations is an inevitable part of succeeding,” advises Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder, Restaurant Secrets Inc., a team of restaurant consultants and business incubators in the UAE that has served over 300 brands since its inception in 2001, including names like Roti Rollers, La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie, Clinton’s Baking Street, Mitts & Trays, and The Loft at Dubai Opera.

Gabrielle, who is now based in Dubai has lived across the UK, Singapore & the UAE, is a seasoned restaurateur and operator and has been incubating F&B businesses for a long time, as suggests her 25 years of experience. In a conversation with her, we learn what exactly it takes to rise to the top of the chain in the fiercely competitive F&B industry. She offers tips that millennials and Gen-Z executives should keep in mind to climb up the F&B career ladder. Excerpts from our conversation.

Read more. Be a people’s person

Communication skills are a successful person’s best asset. Speak with boldness. Excellent communication skills are a sign of civilisation. The better we understand others and can articulate ourselves with confidence, the higher our chances of achieving goals. We all need collaborations to succeed. F&B is so people focused, you can’t serve guests if you are not confident in a good strong way and able to express yourself with panache. Read more. Reading helps you think, process and articulate your knowledge.

Be a learner, don’t wait to be taught, seek new skills

Life is an evolving journey, don’t park yourself in the past, don’t let your background or what you didn’t have limit you from what you can be and the first step to becoming the best version of who you could be is to be a committed, determined intentional learner. I’ve learned more from pursuing the written or spoken word of expertise than in school or university. Seek friends and bosses out, who are keen to mentor or coach you. Ask and you shall find.

Knowledge gives you confidence, and that is true power

I don’t mean academic knowledge; I’m talking practical life skills. Topics related to your industry as well as life, leadership, your spirituality. It doesn’t have to be through books — podcasts, videos and audio books are a great way to explore global perspectives. Success leaves a trail and a surefire way to follow it is to listen to and observe people who’ve been there before and made it. The F&B industry is so multi-layered. There is so much to learn if you choose to apply yourself.

Accountable people attract success

Perhaps the best advice I can give is to intentionally complete what you start. Take on what you can handle, do it well and finish clean. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, how tough it feels, accountability is a superpower that will not only attract opportunities, gain you trust but it will also build in you the resilience to go the long tough path we call life. F&B is high pressure and most walk away too fast, adding too many names on their CV. Leave a place after you have done your part, received your learning, and walk away leaving a legacy not a hole.

Be a master of your trade

It takes time to master anything. It’s great to chase new experiences, but if you won’t commit to anything, you will never learn, and just constantly drift. Stay in the game, invest in yourself by investing into your endeavors wholeheartedly. You will know when it’s time to move on – it feels something like this – a satisfied feeling of ‘what’s next?’.

Going the extra mile will take you to spectacular heights

When we go stingy on our passion, we reduce our blessings equivalently. Every successful person, in money or life will tell you they did everything with heart, went the extra mile when nobody else did and success followed them eventually. Give your best to everything you choose to do.


Pull Out

Learn to say ‘no’ with style and confidence. This is something that will take you time and practice. It’s not easy but it’s very important, because as a young person, you are bombarded with social media and peers telling you to ‘try’ everything. Be confident and believe in yourself, both in your ‘yes’ and your ‘no’.

Gabrielle F. Mather, CEO & Founder, Restaurant Secrets Inc.

Purva Grover

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