Why it’s important to balance creativity and passion with operational expertise

Written by: Gabrielle F. Mather, Founder & CEO of Restaurant Secrets Inc

Creativity   excellence

“It was that flawless moment when Rose walked down the grand stairs to meet Jack in Titanic; music, laughter, glamour, exquisite food and lavish pourings in the background. It was at that picture-perfect moment that I found my passion for my future career as a restaurateur, operator and F&B consultant.”

Gabrielle Mather, our Founder & CEO at Restaurant Secrets states that orchestrating repeatedly experiences that touches hearts and leaves guests satisfied yet craving for more is her idea of doing life in the F&B world. A serenade, a wooing of senses, a promise that delivers every expectation. This is what Gabrielle considers excellent F&B, and believes it takes an army of dedicated people to achieve it, but her secret is in that army being more present than seen.

As the founder and CEO of Restaurant Secrets for the past two decades, Gabrielle has had the privilege of creating over 300 concepts in almost every category of F&B imaginable, and whilst each holds a special place in her heart, the one project that most tested Gabrielle’s philosophy of balancing creativity with consistency was creating and operating The Loft at Dubai Opera. This restaurant put everything that was believed in and advocated for to the test, as RSI fine-tuned the art of balancing creativity and consistency into a dreamy reality. It was at The Loft at Dubai Opera that Gabrielle says she grew up another notch and a restaurateur and F&B consultant.

Gabrielle Mather recalls on January 1, 2019, when Restaurant Secrets Inc. acquired four properties from Emaar including Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera and had to transform it literally overnight into a whole new brand while the theatre season was in full bloom. They built a strong back of house team under the capable hands of Brian Voelzing, our then group executive chef, and created an elegant three-course menu that was easy to execute while being absolutely

Instagrammable and memorable. RSI’s processes and systems were put to test, with a razor-sharp focus on mise-en-place and output of a product that was to be the prologue to world-class symphonies.

The next big challenge faced was to render the expected front of house service of an elegant fine dining, music-filled space that sat aloft the imposing Dubai Opera every night to two sittings of 350 people each, all within an hour, and then help with the exit through two lifts into the theatre just in time for their show.

“I remember, the adrenaline and excitement of those days as we grouped as a team. Expecting mature world-class service from a team that still had no real ‘team’ experience is quite a risky gamble, I assure you. As I look back I am grateful for the grace that propelled bold leadership, as we confidently led an energetic and young team”

You see, many times F&B forgets the importance of the role of sound leadership and operational systems of running a restaurant. Being accountable and responsible, having a ‘captain-of-the-ship’ mentality are still very relevant in this industry. You cannot just come up with trendy, creative and entertaining concepts in the board room, share them through to the digital and influencer marketing departments, and then expect miracles every night. For every great idea, the leaders needed to put in place multiple small detailed steps that visualise and manage the scene from start to end.

An example, would be while staying expansive and bold in the creative areas of the plan, running the teams to aim small, miss small, equipped for the heat of operations.

A connection between brand owners, brand managers and operations teams is another crucial link to accomplishing a balance between creativity and consistency. Gabrielle’s strong belief in synergy being the driving force of success is also the key secret of Restaurant Secrets Inc. success. Every part of the F&B experience is sensitive to the guest encounter and is vulnerable to failure if it’s not played out like a symphony of processes and passion.

Gabrielle Mather and her team from Restaurant hope that more restaurateurs and restaurant professionals will align to the truth that learning, committing and then doing what they do best, with passion and finesse is the key to excellence. Ignoring the automation aspect of a great idea is like going to war with a great strategy but no soldiers and no weapons. Symphonies are orchestrated with precision, great brands are built with visionary creative ideas, detail to attention and respect for systems. For more information about Restaurant Secrets Inc., call +971 4 331 0033 , e-mail [email protected], visit www.restaurantsecretsinc.com or follow @restaurantsecretsinc on social media.