Amriya Group Executive Chairman, Khalid Al-Rumaihi delves into the driving forces behind the Group’s triumphs in fine dining and hospitality, its unwavering commitment to crafting unparalleled guest experiences, and the importance of meeting the high expectations of today’s discerning diners.
Can you share the vision and mission that drive Amriya Group’s success in the fine dining and hospitality industry?
At Amriya, our vision has always been to create experiences for our guests that they have rarely encountered before. Experiences that are unforgettable and that combine beautiful design, exemplary and personalized service and culinary excellence. We want to create concepts that can compare with the best restaurants all over the world. Guests dine today not only to eat; they want a sensory experience that encompasses unique and elegant design, service that is prompt and knowledgeable and finally, they want to taste dishes that compare favorably with what they tasted in some of the finest establishments in Europe, the US and Asia. Guests today (and yes we call them guests and not customers) are extremely well-traveled and discerning. You have to constantly seek to improve to match their expectations. We try to do that relentlessly – we work tirelessly to ensure that we get all the details right – from our service staff, to our design and of course the ingredients in our food. The details matter and you have to seek to raise the bar every single day to stay on top of your game.
Masso was chosen as one of MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants this year. What do you believe led to this achievement?
We are extremely proud to have been recognized by the MENA 50 Best in this year’s award – one of only three restaurants in the country. Without doubt, the team in the kitchen led by our Executive Chef Steeven Gilles and by the front-of-house team led by Loyd Loudy and Ivana Basaric were key to this success. Their passion and dedication are key elements behind this recognition.
Masso was created exactly 12 years ago based on our travels in Europe. It has been a passionate project for us to ensure that the ambiance is cozy and not pretentious and that the menu is curated carefully and meticulously tasted before being offered to our guests. We continue to push the boundaries in terms of shipping the best ingredients from Europe for our dishes to using the best designers for our dining room because Masso is a source of pride for us. The award is a recognition of that endless search for excellence but it has never been our pursuit. The best indicator of our success is the repeated visits of our guests and their testimonials throughout these last 12 years.
With changing consumer preferences, how does Amriya Group stay agile in adapting menus and services to meet evolving tastes and expectations?
We constantly travel and visit hotels and restaurants to learn from the best and to keep up with trends. We don’t want to imitate but rather create our vision of what will delight guests. We know our guests are benchmarking us against their experiences around the world, so it is a joy to be able to give them an experience that is a delight to them. Ultimately, my wife and I have always put ourselves in the position of the guest and have had a keen focus on what we would want to see and taste before offering it to our guests. We have to stand behind the experience and we continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved – both in terms of recruiting the best talent and in terms of seeking to work with the best ingredients and partners to help craft these experiences. We do that for The Orangery, Masso and Palmyard Hotel, and we are excited to be creating new concepts in the next 12 months that will not only be new to Bahrain, but for the GCC as well. We are not looking at Bahrain as a benchmark. We are looking to create concepts and services that can be scaled regionally and globally.
What strategies does Amriya Group deploy to set itself apart from the competition?
I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead some wonderful organizations and what has become clear to me is that in order to create a high performing organization, you need to first set a clear strategy. Secondly, develop an operating model to deliver that strategy.Thirdly, and most importantly, hire the best people for the key positions in that operating model or organization. Amriya operates against the same guiding principles. What I believe can set us apart from the competition is to ensure we have a fantastic team that is motivated, operates like a team and is constantly seeking to deliver on excellence in everything they do. This is easier said than done, but my role is to make sure that happens every single day. To create a culture that makes this a natural reflex.
What role does innovation play in keeping Amriya Group’s establishments fresh and appealing to a diverse clientele?
You have to be innovative and creative if you want to match the expectations of well-traveled guests. During COVID when restaurants were closed, we launched a high-end food delivery service under the name of “Dine In” which continues to thrive today. We wanted to create a food delivery platform that had a fairer commercial structure for restaurants and that could deliver fine dining in an elegant way. It was born out of necessity, but today, we have over 50 top-end restaurants on our platform that would otherwise not use a delivery service had we not created a much more elegant platform and service that matches the elegance of their cuisine. Ordering at home should not necessarily be about junk food and can be about having a healthy and elegant meal in the comfort of your home.
As I said earlier, my team and I constantly travel to ensure we evaluate innovative concepts that we believe will delight and excite our guests. We created Circa more than a year ago because we wanted to combine great South American food with a lively atmosphere. The choice has usually been about either entertainment or good food, not usually both combined. We created Circa so that you could have both and we are delighted with our guests’ overwhelming reaction to this offering.