Tim Smith, general manager at Marina Social says that the best part of working in hospitality is being… well… social.
Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry?
I began by washing pots at the local pub at the age of 14; that’s when I really got the buzz for food and service. I got yelled at for not scrubbing quickly enough, but you finish the shift and you see that people loved the food and service – that’s the reward I got.
Who has inspired you most in your career?
I wouldn’t say I have had only one person that has inspired me. Many have in small ways and I always try to take on board the valuable feedback they have for me.
How do you view the F&B scene in the region?
Dubai is ever-changing and is a very competitive market. What I like about the Dubai F&B scene is that there is always somewhere new to try, and the businesses are always learning to accommodate this vastly different cultured city.
What is the biggest challenge of your role?
Ensuring that the guest’s expectations are always met is my biggest challenge. Guests don’t just come to a restaurant now for the food, they come for the show. They want something new to tell their family and friends about. This is fun for me, as I am always having to keep on my toes to come up with new ideas to make the guest feel wowed.
What’s the best aspect of your role?
Hearing and telling stories. In this industry, we are very fortunate that we can travel and always have new and exciting stories about food and beverage. Yes, work hours are unsociable but it is a very sociable role.
If you could work in any restaurant in the world, which would it be?
Currently it would be Noma in Mexico. The Noma we all know has now opened up a seasonal outdoor restaurant and is using fresh ingredients from the local area; the whole experience is very new.
What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry in the region?
Ensure that you have learnt everything you can from your current employer. Don’t jump from job to job chasing the promotion. Knowledge and loyalty are key in the hospitality industry.
Aug 2015 – Jan 2017
General manager, Cocktail Kitchen Dubai
May 2014 – Aug 2015
Assistant general manager, Frioul Dubai
Oct 2012 – May 2014
Restaurant manager, Connaught Hotel, London, UK