Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 14th 2017 Contents JOSEPH HABR,
Joseph Habr, director and chef of Joseph's
Restaurant based in Port-of-Spain, said he
attributes his success to "constant atten-
tion" to customer service.
The menu covers food of Lebanese/Mid-
dle Eastern origin.
"In my opinion, constant attention to
customer service is the most important
attribute to our success. When I started in
the hospitality industry way back in 1972,
the irst thing I was taught is "Eyes, Ears
and Nose before Mouth". Yes it is true that
guests go out to eat good food. But your
mind would play tricks on you if you start
your experience with a rude server or in
an unpleasant environment; as good as the
food might actually taste, your night has al-
ready been soured (pun intended) by previ-
The advice he gave to newcomers to the
restaurant industry is dedication and con-
"The industry is a very demanding ield
and there are too many people out there
who want to see you fail. When I opened
up Ali Baba in Royal Palm Plaza, many peo-
ple were confused by our concept and very
often I was asked the question: 'you sure
Trinis would like Arabic food?' Twenty-six
years later and endless taste tests in the
kitchen, Joseph's Restaurant is still serving
a wide variety of mezza to Trinis."
He also spoke about the challenges that
they face in their industry, one of which is
having the right employees.
"At the restaurant, we try for everyone
to work as a team. Whether you work pri-
marily, front of house or behind scenes, the
words 'that is not my work' is frowned upon
by management and fellow employees.
Thankfully we have a core group of people
who take pride in their work and are always
willing to give a helping hand."
The ingredients that he uses in his restau-
rant is a mix of foreign and local.
"Almost all our spices come from Leb-
anon. For all produce and herbs, we buy
local whenever the quality is good. Produce
that comes from away is picked at least one
week in advance but the quality is generally
consistent. Local produce, on the other
hand, can be picked and delivered to you
the same day."
BG4 cover story
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Recipes for success
Joe Brown, executive manager and chief chef at
Jaffa Restaurant, shared by phone on Monday that
the restaurant industry has a lot of potential.
He has been operating Jaffa for the last 10 years at
the Oval and he offers an international menu.
Brown, who is originally from England, attributed
his success to his many years in the restaurant in-
"I am successful because I'm very good at what I
do. I have worked all over the world. You name it and
I can cook it."
He also said that he uses local foods for all his
"I use a lot of local ingredients but in a very inter-
national manner. If I were to put a percentage on it
I would say that my input is 65 per cent local and I
import 35 per cent."
Having been in the restaurant industry for 45 years
and having worked all over the world, he advised
new owners getting into the business to be "hands
"The worst thing you can do is to leave it to other
people. I am not just the owner of the business but
also the executive chef. I am not an of ice chef and I
still cook every day."
He said the main challenge that restaurants in the
industry face today is to ind good quality employees
to train properly.
"I train my own staff so I get exactly what I want.
The other challenge is that we have little support
from the Ministry of Tourism. If you own a hotel or
a guest house and you refurbish, you are entitled to
duty-free concessions. We restaurateurs who bring a
lot more money than a small guesthouse get no con-
cessions if we have to refurbish."
T&T restaurateurs share
T&T Restaurant Week begins tomorrow.
In this week's edition of Business and Money, reporters RAPH-
AEL JOHN LALL, NADALEEN SINGH AND ANNA LISA PAUL take
an in-depth look at what makes the restaurant industry tick, and
why some restaurants have remained successful in an industry no-
torious for failure. The following is a list of restaurants---and their
owners---from across the country that have successfully managed
to keep their doors open to the public for years.
Ricardo Peyrau, manager of More Vino Restau-
rant, Port-of-Spain, bases the restaurant's success
on excellent customer service and the country's best
fresh sushi and wines.
More Vino, opened in 2005, covers a wide range
sushi, wine, spirits and cocktails.
He advises people who are now getting into the
industry to main a high level of consistency, quality,
good customer service and great taste.
Like his peers in the industry, he cites his chal-
lenges as inding good workers and, in his case spe-
ci ically, consistent supplies from suppliers.
Finally, he said, they do their best to buy all ingre-
The Kam Wah Chinese Restaurant is a
which opened in March 1995 by David &
Christopher on behalf of the Aleong Broth-
ers Group. The restaurant has maintained
a constant presence of a family member
as hands-on manager. The main chefs are
Aleong family relatives from Hong Kong
and Guangzhou who ensure every dish
is authentic. Many of these dishes are in-
vented in honour of Nam Long, the village
to which Kam Wah traces back its roots.
What do you attribute as the keys to
your success in the restaurant business?
Clarity in my vision and commitment to
my palate. I don't focus on trends or "frou-
frou" plating and techniques, but rather, I
choose to respect ingredients that are fresh
and flavourful and cook them---that's what
keeps my customers happy. We have been
in business for more than 20 years.
What advice would you give someone
contemplating opening a restaurant?
First of all, know that having a restau-
rant is a 24-hour, 365 day a year job ie it
requires 100 per cent commitment which
means you can't just love eating food and
entertaining people, you have to love
every aspect of a restaurant wholeheart-
edly: from purchasing, maintenance, peo-
ple skills, managing staff etc. Once you
understand that, then my advice is: stay
true to your style and don't worry about
What are the challenges of operating
a restaurant in the local environment
Getting workers with the right attitude/
mindset to join the team.
What mix of imported and local goods
do you use in your restaurant?
At one time, we were using 50 per cent
local and 50 per cent foreign produce.
Currently, we are changing the menu to in-
clude more local offerings and ingredients
from other Caribbean neighbours. We feel
very strongly about supporting our local
Links Archive September 13th 2017 September 15th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page