Gulf Insider interviews Fares Yactine, Area General Manager of the Gulf Hotel, Bahrain.
How has the hospitality industry reinvented itself during the crisis?
COVID-19 was something new that touched the fundamentals of the hospitality industry and affected all the practices we normally encouraged in the hospitality i.e. to engage with guest, shake hands, hand over your business card with two hands etc…now with COVID-19 all our engaging and welcoming gestures are considered to be a risk. This is very odd for us who are used to welcoming with a big smile but we still try our best to offer a welcoming experience.
The pandemic has ensued in making gourmet food available for takeaway. What are your thoughts on this?
Adaptability is the key for business continuity. Before the pandemic we were reluctant to have our food delivered but now we’ve come up with the concept of making gourmet food available for takeaway in a chic and elegant way. I have to say that the takeaway option was a key element to maintain the link between our restaurants and loyal customers.
Personally, how have your food habits changed during these times?
At the beginning like everybody I was uncertain of what is happening. I started using only disposable containers and cutleries to eat and dined at home more than before. As I started to understand more about the virus I am coming back to my normal eating habits, of course respecting the health and safety directives.
How are you preparing to receive diners, both indoors and outdoors?
Comprehensive guidelines and precautions have been put in place to ensure a safe environment for all diners. We’ve also made few changes in the venues layout so the guest experience remains unaffected.
What is your prediction for the hospitality industry in Bahrain, for the next 2-3 years?
Hospitality is always the first sector to get affected during any crisis and the last sector to recover. The recovery will take time but of course all will depend on the vaccine development. I strongly believe that a small market like Bahrain will be able to recover faster and that the reopening the causeway will have a positive impact on hospitality.