Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 2014 • WEEK ONE
Starting a business is not only
an investment in infrastruc-
ture, but also in human
resources, said Stephen
Hadeed, managing director,
Luce, (Italian for light), a
lounge, wine bar and sushi restaurant.
On March 7, 45-year-old Hadeed opened
the doors to his business on the compound
of the Hilton Trinidad Hotel and Conference
Centre, St Ann s. Hadeed said it s the second
sushi bar in a hotel in T&T, the first being
located at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel.
He said properly trained workers assist in
building the image of a business. He employs
ten, including two chefs.
Speaking to the Business Guardian on Tues-
day, Hadeed said training and offering an
attractive salary are the two factors which
contribute to a high retention rate of work-
ers.A graduate of Queens Royal College, he
said trends show upgrading equipment for
staff to use is not a priority for most owners
of businesses in T&T.
"The problem is many people don t want
to pay the price for good workers. I pay, but
had the challenge of three or four people leave
already and that is because they are young.
At the end of the day, you hire people that
know the work.
"I built Luce based on (recruiting and select-
ing appropriately). I had food and beverage
managers, I had consultants, I had consultant
chefs, I met with suppliers who know about
fish. I took long to open Luce. Before we
opened, we spent a month-and-a-half on
training only. It takes a lot of research; you
can t build this overnight."
Asked why retention of workers in any busi-
ness is important, Hadeed said: "We have a
big challenge with staff and discipline in T&T.
I want to believe many businesses that don t
do well is because they do not treat their staff
well. There is a lot of victimisation going on.
I see it because I do business with everybody."
Asked why he chose to locate his restaurant
at the Hilton as opposed to, say, Ariapita
Avenue, the new popular liming strip, Hadeed
said, "The Avenue is a dump. The Avenue is
for everybody. The Avenue is battling for a
market that is saturated and it s just boring."
Waving his right hand to draw attention to
his Miami-bought fixtures and furniture,
Hadeed said with an air of pride, "This would
get lost on the Avenue."
He defines his customer base as people
ranging from ministers of government to youths
"who have a lot of disposable income, but
have nowhere to go and will choose Luce as
the place to socialise."
For Hadeed, this means that "top dollar"
must be paid to retain his staff.
"I don t see any challenges other than tap-
ping into the right market. I don t see I am
competition to anybody or I am competing
with anyone. Once you go past a year of doing
business and have consistent reviews, that s
how you would be successful.
"The challenge is for me to keep my staff
together with what I am trying to put out
here. I am trying to keep my dream alive
and keep their dreams alive. I didn t hire
anybody to work for $21 per hour or $32 per
hour, I pay top dollar. I am paying above
minimum wage and I am paying the real
hospitality rates, even though they are not
Positioning the sushi restaurant at the
Hilton will give Hadeed room to market his
establishment. The hotel has adequate park-
ing and security.
"I can market Luce with anything asso-
ciated with the hotel. It is an upside down
hotel. This was an old colonial house. It s 52
He said the restaurant can be marketed
along with the history of the Hilton.
"If tomorrow this business fails, the hotel
wins. I won t lose either, I could sell it."
"I used to live in Antigua. Living in
Antigua, you go to the hotels for drinks
before bars were built."
When he visited Trinidad, Hadeed would
go to what was known as the Carnival Bar
for a drink as that was the Antiguan way
of drinking socially.
Trends in the hospitality industry showed
that a lounge would be more successful
than a restaurant.
"The reason I went with a sushi bar is
because there is no sushi bar in this hotel.
Technically, we now have two hotels that
carry sushi bars. It is the most economical
and sushi is a new food ; it s a new trend
internationally. People who do not eat raw
fish are eating raw fish now."
He said guests with international taste
patterns occupy the hotel and even expa-
triates live in the hotel.
"We had three functions in here. We had
one for a ministry, a launch and a birthday
party for 50 people."
Conventional advertising is not his strategy
for promoting Luce. Hadeed prefers to use
social media as it would capture the niche
market which he is targeting.
"We are not doing any advertising except
social media: Instagram, Facebook and we
are working on our Web site. It is a niche
market in the Instagram world. I don t want
to do conventional advertising because it
gets out of control in the volume of people
coming (to the lounge)," he said.
New sushi restaurant
opens at the Hilton
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Executives of the state-owned National Energy Corporation
of T&T (National Energy) have been travelling the globe
making presentations as part of "a strategic corporate social
responsibility (CSR) programme that focuses on brokering
stakeholder partnerships and collaborations, and creating
shared value," the company said in a statement June 27.
In a June 30 e-mail, National Energy President Dr Vernon
Paltoo said that National Energy "as per its mandate, has
been actively engaging potential investors regionally and
globally with the purpose of attracting investment in the
downstream energy industry development of T&T."
Asked about the Caribbean South America Energy Summit
held in Miami, Florida June 9-10, National Energy said Paltoo
was "a keynote speaker who made a presentation titled
"Development of a Sustainable Natural Gas Industry -- A
Trinidad and Tobago Perspective."
The company said his presentation focused on the current
state of the energy industry in T&T; mechanisms and strategies
used for development of the gas-based sector; current projects
and rationale for future planning; and industrial development
planning for the future.
To further promote the T&T energy brand, a "high level
delegation" led by Paltoo participated in the first Suriname
International Mining, Energy and Petroleum Conference and
Exhibition (SURIMEP 2014) from June 17-19, the e-mail said.
The event, of which National Energy was a platinum spon-
sor, took place in Paramaribo, Suriname and was organised
by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Suriname, in part-
nership with AME Trade Ltd, a United Kingdom-based organ-
isation specialising in the area of trade promotion for the
African and Middle Eastern region.
The main theme of SURIMEP was "Utilising Suriname s
Natural Resources to Underpin a Sustainable Economy," he
said. Suriname s extractive industries are diverse, unexploited
and full of potential for investors and therefore it is an ideal
location for expanding our local energy industry beyond the
borders of T&T.
Merlyn Rennie-Brown, acting vice-president, energy industry
development, National Energy, was one of the feature speakers
at SURIMEP, Paltoo said. Her topic: "Building a Sustainable
Energy Industry---The Trinidad and Tobago Experience."
Through these conferences and other future engagements,
it is National Energy s intention to continue to engage stake-
holders to further advance and diversify the local energy
industry both within T&T as well as in other emerging petro-
leum provinces, Paltoo said. National Energy has also used
and will continue to use these opportunities to showcase the
projects under development, the role of the organisation in
the local energy sector, and the thrust towards natural gas
diversification and industrial development required to support
National Energy execs travel globe under CSR programme
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