Ever wonder how hotels and restaurants retain and keep their loyal customers?

My guest today says it all boils down to excellent hospitality. The way that a hotel or restaurant cares about its customers and brings about a satisfying, comfortable, and safe experience through invisible touchpoints makes all the difference.

Join me as I welcome my guest, Ghizlane Benzakour, as she shares her journey of entrepreneurship, her amazing story of why she got into hospitality, and how she and her team made Table and Beyond the successful business it is today.

Episode Highlights:

[02:23] What the art of exceptional hospitality is all about
[05:17] Ghizlane’s journey from starting her own business at 12 years old to finally starting Table and Beyond in Dubai
[08:23] The legacy Ghizlane wants to leave through Table and Beyond
[10:29] Ghizlane’s surprising shift from wanting to be a doctor as a kid and her trip to Europe which changed her life around
[17:27] What she found missing in restaurants and hotels in Dubai when she just first started Table & Beyond
[23:23] Understanding your target market and finding what will make your customers happy
[28:07] The importance of bringing in a newer perspective to help improve your business
[30:33] Key ingredients to success that all restauranteurs and hotel owners must keep in mind
[31:49] Why it’s okay to be wrong and give yourself the room to fail gracefully
[34:51] Ghizlane’s insights on the future of hospitality
[36:50] Tips for restauranteurs who are looking to prepare for the expo
[41:31] What it means to be an Elevated Entrepreneur according to Ghizlane

Connect with Dhiren:

Links and Resources:


“Hospitality is not just about restaurants and hotels, it’s also about the hospitality that we extend in our homes because that is the sort of experience as guests, we look for that same level of warmth.” – Dhiren Bhatia

 “For me, Table and Beyond is an extension of me being a businessperson since I was young and wanting to have a team around me, supporting also people, helping the team also develop. I open doors to everyone. And then I’m helping my clients to find exactly what they need.” – Ghizlane Benzakour


Thank you for listening! I hope you enjoyed this episode and I’d love to hear your feedback. You can email me at and help me improve or if you have someone in mind that would be a great guest on the show, feel free to recommend them via email.

Ghizlane 0:01
Very important to have your own vision, if this is where you want to be, for sure, but opening your mind to others and listening to what others are doing and what is their stories and of their failure. Really help a lot to have the right people around.

Dhiren 0:24
Hello elevated entrepreneurs. Welcome to a fantastic episode of the Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast. Today, I’m talking to a lady who is a powerhouse when it comes to hospitality. Her name is Ghizlane and she is the founder of a phenomenal business called Table and Beyond that services, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and so much more. Ghizlane and I are talking about the art of hospitality, and how business owners especially new restaurant business owners need to worry about and focus on the art of hospitality, Ghizlane and I also talk about how she decided to change careers because of one single trip. And I could not believe myself. So if you want to listen to this story, and you want to hear how Ghizlane has grown her brand, and how she got to to change her careers, you must listen to this episode. As always, grab your headphones, grab yourself a cup of coffee, if you’re going for a run, hit play and help me cue the music.

Dhiren 1:29
You’re listening to The Elevated Entrepreneur podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs simplify business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business. Here’s your host Dhiren Bhatia.

Dhiren 1:47
Welcome to the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast. It is a pleasure having you here today.

Ghizlane 1:52
Thank you, thank you Dhiren. The pleasure is mine really to be with you and the discussion.

Dhiren 1:57
Thank you. And today we’re talking about the art of hospitality. And you and I connected maybe two months ago for an event where we met and we connected and right away when we spoke after the meeting, we had this passion for hospitality. And I really want to dive into that today and learn from you and share with our listeners all about hospitality. And I know you’re the right person to talk to about it. But before we do that, I want you to introduce yourself. Please tell us what you do and and how you started.

Ghizlane 2:23
Oh wow, thank you very much. Thanks again for the opportunity and for giving importance to this beautiful topic. Indeed. Because you know, and other hospitality, it’s not really only corner to the hotels and restaurants. It’s also the way how we receive people in our home. And I believe this is coming as well from our culture. I am actually originally born in Morocco, where the art of receiving is very important. So we used to spend a lot of time apart from cooking, but also arranging the table and fixing the house. And this was my actually I was really enjoying this time. And I have beautiful memories with my mom. And yeah, so after finishing the high school, I actually continued my passion and I studied hospitality, I went to Switzerland, I studied the Hospitality Management. And as soon as I was out of the university, there was a beautiful opportunity for me to come to Dubai and be part of an opening the new hotel, that’s five minutes was in 2002. You know, at that time, Dubai was a very emerging city. So it was a dream for someone with a specially calibrated to come to such a vibrant and interesting city. So I moved to Dubai, in the beginning and actually of 2002 started my journey really in working in the hospitality. And the life has go on till I have actually moved to the sales where I’ve started to work for other companies selling to hotels, all kinds of products. And this is where actually I really dive in my passion because it’s related to you know, making things beautiful, setting the bed setting up the table settings. And I opened my own company table and beyond since about three years now. And this is how I want to pass this passion to my clients and showing them the importance and not only the beauty of the elements, but to make them feel good and welcome.

Dhiren 4:22
Thank you Ghizlane I loved your background, because I know you’ve spent more than 20 years in hospitality. And I want to get into that in a bit. One thing that you said earlier in your introduction was hospitality is just not about restaurants and hotels. It’s also about the hospitality that we extend in our homes. And that is such a true thing and such an amazing thing to think about. And because that is sort of the experience. Maybe we look as guests when we go to another restaurant, we look for that same level of warmth and hospitality.

Ghizlane 4:48
Exactly. And it’s true that it’s not only I mean, not only in the restaurant business, but you need to feel welcome wherever you go as the customers and that is can be any showroom. They can go to a retail shop. There are different ways to make people feel comfortable. But here in the hotel because we are sitting on the table, we are experiencing a longer time. So things around us have to make us more comfortable and relaxed to enhance our experience.

Dhiren 5:17
Yeah, tell me a bit about table and beyonds I know you’ve started table and beyond in 2017. But tell us more about that.

Ghizlane 5:22
So it’s really starting from the table really had the you know, customers to have something really specific for their operation. I was working with suppliers, who really wanted me to handle this market. And we’ve started really on exercising at the table. So chinaware glassware, cutlery, linen, etc. And since then, since we have started, we really expanded the business to cover almost all the area that a hotel or restaurants needs. So for any new opening or any operation, whether it’s a restaurant, whether it’s housekeeping in the rooms, we have the source of products of suppliers that can really deliver good products as per the client’s needs. Today, we work with so many different clients. It’s not only you know, the hospitality, we do a lot of private homes as well. People who in their home want to experience that comfort, the same when they go to a hotel, we work a lot with catering companies. So, you know, our target market has expanded as well, along with our expansion of products. And yeah.

Dhiren 6:32
I want to ask you Ghizlane, then what made you start table and because you had started with the hotel chain here, you then moved into sales, what made you start table and beyond.

Ghizlane 6:40
Business, I had my first business at the age of 12. You know, I really enjoyed this, to have my own business to have my own bank accounts. I used to have clients, I used to make things myself actually back home and selling them to my mother’s family or family or friends and going to markets I really like achievement to go with someone to find them, find their pain answer to that. And then here we go, you make someone happy with the product that you really need.

Ghizlane 7:11
So for me, it’s Table and Beyond, it’s really an extension of this dream, it was always there, I always wanted to create something, a legacy behind a brand behind me. And when I started in hospitality, I really love the industry. And I felt that I can even add more, by me helping these clients which will because I love interior design. I love etiquette. I’m an etiquette person, like I would really spend lots of time if somebody comes to my home to make everything perfect, but it’s really just not about the aesthetic. But to think about everything in advance. Like if I will have a guest staying at home and I need to prepare the guest home then I will need them not to come with anything. You know, this has always been there. So for me, Table and Beyond is an extension of me being a business person since I was young. And wanting to have a team around me. So supporting also people helping a team. I open let’s say doors, everyone and a good feeling for me, and then I’m helping my clients to find exactly what they need.

Dhiren 8:15
And I wanna ask you, you mentioned something very interesting that is the legacy. What do you think is Table and Beyond’s legacy? What will it be?

Ghizlane 8:23
My dream is very clear, I my vision is right now actually working on my own brand, which gonna have my own signature and my own designs. And moving forward, we want to have the brand in the multiple locations and also touch on the retail. For me when I say legacy. So my kids, you know, when they come with me to office, they’re always very happy to see what we’re doing. And whenever we go to a restaurant, and it’s a plate, it’s all of us business plates and, and shelves and tables. So they are interested, they are really looking even at opportunities. So which is great. So yeah, this is part of the legacy now whether they will be in the business and they will continue that’s not a question, because I believe that everyone should work in what they really love. But for me to leave a company that is sustainable, that helps people you know their careers as well. It’s very rewarding.

Dhiren 9:16
I love that and I love the idea of creating your own brand. I think that is something that will do so well. Because just because you have the passion for that as well.

Ghizlane 9:24

Dhiren 9:25
Have you thought of a name for that brand?

Ghizlane 9:27
I do. I do have the name. I’m waiting for it to be confirmed that it’s not been used. So I won’t tell you the name now.

Dhiren 9:34

Ghizlane 9:34
We’ll definitely if you you know in the lounge, but it’s a nice brand on it’s going to be anywhere registered in UAE. I believe in the country. I came to Dubai very young and thanks to the city and the management of the country. It’s opened my eyes and my vision too see much further than what I thought I can do. And it was very normal for me to say okay, my brand is going to be registered on my landmark. And yeah, it’s gonna be to do a lot about UAE, by the way.

Dhiren 10:08
That’s amazing. And so what that means is we need to have a second part to this chat in the New Year, where you can come on and tell us all about that brand.

Ghizlane 10:16

Dhiren 10:18
I want to ask you, I want to take you back in time. I know you studied hospitality in Switzerland. I wanted to get to know what was that? Like? What drew you into hospitality? And what made you go to Switzerland to study hospitality?

Ghizlane 10:29
Since I was young, I was studying so hard to become a doctor.

Dhiren 10:33

Ghizlane 10:34
Yes, yes, yes. And it’s coming from the fact that I want to help people. This is part of our core value. So I’ve been studying so hard, have the highest mark, you know, me and the university. I’ve succeeded because, you know, I came up with my high school. My name was part of the six top people to be in the University of cataloger, from A to Z. And my ankle was a doctor, he were so impressed, and so happy that continuing at you someone in the family will be also as well a doctor, I went to Switzerland, I was going for vacation. We’ve been going to Europe since young because a lot of my family members are there, my uncles, my aunt so for us traveling was very normal every year we’re there. But this time was different. I was 17. And my aunt who is almost like my godmother, she told me well, Joanne, you can you believe, you know, sitting and studying seven years and you’re outspoken person, you have business. Look at the business you have done since. Well, we’ve been having this business and so on, do you see yourself going through this? And I said, well, I don’t say something else. I mean, interior designers, so she took me to the school. And when I went to the school, it’s wake me up completely. And I found myself as in exactly the type of environment where I want to be. Because it’s hospitality. It’s, it’s regroups, everything. You know, it’s not the particular very specific that you will study, giving you an understanding of how departments work. And then you then decide where do you want to go, rather than if I want to be a doctor, then I would just study medicine. And that’s it. I will not know anything else. So here I really like the fact that it’s the first the university, the school, the curriculum, and the fact that I have a whole view of so many things. You know, he goes through so many departments, you go to housekeeping equal to stewarding, receiving, so, after finishing completing the study you almost can work anywhere you don’t have this, you know that you are restricted.

Dhiren 12:37
Yeah, you’re not restricted.

Ghizlane 12:39
And that’s I was like, Oh my god, I call my parents, I still remember my mom when I told her I’m not coming back. And she was like, What are you talking about? September, you’re starting University. And I said, well now that we all the family was trying to pursue me and they know, Angela. And I said, No, I’m all I had to work for four months to do like internship. So I work in the high end gastronomical sand in Basil. And from there, I started university and here I am.

Dhiren 13:09
What an amazing journey. So you said bye bye to be a doctor and you switched gears all because of one trip.

Ghizlane 13:16
Yes, really. Then, of course, I was idolizing really my uncle, whom I respect so much. And today, I tell him, he has very special place in my heart. So seeing him, you know, in his clinic, and back in our country, there was only this type of jobs, either you can be engineer, or you have to be an accountant or you have to be a doctor. There was nothing in between. There was nothing for the creativity and all my family around me there either doctor or in accounting or engineer. Nobody is into business. Like there was no one around me to give me that kind of feel. It was just me being like that. So they wanted the normal job. I don’t want to say that those jobs are not rewarding. But for me, you know in hospitality, it’s give me this broad training this broad information and then you can decide where we want to be. You want to be in FMB you want to be in the rooms, then you have so many options to choose from.

Dhiren 14:13
This university is in Luzon in Switzerland, I’m not going to be able to say the name because it’s French. But how long did you study at this university?

Ghizlane 14:20
I was there for two years. Because then we had also, you know, internship, I did my internship in Sweden and but I could have also done it somewhere else. So I stayed in Sweden and almost three years and half.

Dhiren 14:31
Then you decided to move to Dubai.

Ghizlane 14:33
Yes, I decided to move to Dubai. I always was very interested by Asia. I wanted to travel to Singapore or it was really very interesting for me. But when I had this opportunity for new opening, just coming out to the school sounds no brainer. You know, it’s a must. This is exactly what I wanted to be.

Dhiren 14:52
And I want to ask you with all that background and hospitality when you started, Table and Beyond. Did you see what the need was? was the need for you to start table and beyond at that time in 2017.

Ghizlane 15:04
The missing was really people who understand the operation and the need of the client, but more the need of the client actually the need of the customers. Because here, any person opening the hotel or restaurant, they want the customer to come back. And this is only thanks to the experience that they will give to the customer. And this is what I call the square meter, the literal square meter, this is what matters, you know, you go inside the beautiful hotel, it’s a beautiful chandelier or marble, that makes difference for me know what would make a difference. For me, when I sit on a chair, it’s comfortable, the height of the table is good, the food is very well displayed and well cooked this little details that the waiter will talk to me or in my room, for example, this whole little things, people are not thinking about it because they don’t see the operation from a customer point of view. Most of other companies, they will just propose a brand or the product to save the initial investment. But me My view is to actually make clients is so good that they will come back.

Dhiren 16:08
Absolutely. Like I said, What can you do in that square meter to make that thing?

Ghizlane 16:11

Dhiren 16:12
And these are the invisible things? These are the things that you don’t normally observe or see. And yet,

Ghizlane 16:16

Dhiren 16:17
They make such a big difference.

Ghizlane 16:18

Ghizlane 16:19
Yes. So for me, it was associating myself with brands who have the same belief and who can adapt, if special customization to clients. And today, you know, people are everything is about Instagram and taking you know, videos. So you’re in a restaurant, you don’t want to go to the neighbor and find the same thing. How do we solve that? So this whole, you know, thinking is what made me really realize that there is a need a niche in the market. And then let’s move on to

Dhiren 16:51
So I envision this you walking into restaurants and hotels you like that’s not right. That’s not right. This is not right. And I do that, too. When I walk into a restaurant or a retail shop, my first thing is a POS the inventory management center, you must be doing that, too.

Ghizlane 17:04
Oh, yes, it’s almost bad. But this is what it is. I’ve always give constructive feedback. I know that people are sometimes in stress, and I really value the mean little things when somebody remembers your name or when they see that you are struggling with something they come for help. This has to be in harmony with the concept on what they want achieved, but it’s more about this human touch as well.

Dhiren 17:27
Absolutely. So I want to ask you, in your experience here now it’s in 2017, even before What do you feel is missing in this market? When you go to restaurants? What is the one thing that you think every restaurant can pick up and improve?

Ghizlane 17:40
You know, really, whoever opens lesson they have to think number one who is their target market? Who are their clients? Because based on that then they have to work on their offering. I’ll give you one very simple example. Actually, there’s one restaurant I want to tell the name normal it’s a Lebanese kind ofsweet type of food and we went one time I took my kids after going to the beach and believe me now my kids every weekend, asked me to go there. It’s a must to know that there will be a lot of families coming and they put ice cream machine and ice cream machine that we can see. And the kids go and look at the ice cream it’s made and then they put them this you know chocolate and everything and they are so happy. And this is so smart. At the beginning Even when we went like shows time we’re not even charged because my kids were so small so was you know it does not make that ice cream was so small that this small touches. It made us like okay this is a must go weekly. This is also another market families you go to restaurant and you have kids, you won’t be able to entertain your child you cannot he won’t be able to sit for one two hours, make little corner with some toys or something. Now of course it’s situation with the pandemic is exhibit changes. We have to be even more thinking of other options. But for example a placemat where they can do for example, or have some pencil there are many reasons like they are really a family is part of the concept that is a family restaurant. And you go there as a family and you’re with a young you know kids you won’t be able to entertain them So then why calling yourself as a family restaurant. So here is go back to basic. really look at what’s your target market what kind of clients you want to attract. And then think about their pain and find the thing that will make them happy so when they come they’ll be so happy that they will come back again.

Dhiren 19:39
Absolutely you know we learned this in as you go through your own businesses we learned that we cannot be everything to everybody and our businesses also cannot be everything to everybody.

Ghizlane 19:48
Exactly. You know I give the example of family but this is like our pet This is in his or for example cigar for example like you know cigar bar or cigar you go to a cigar bar. You don’t find a couple cigar ashtray come on, you know, people are going to enjoy a nice thing with their cigar and they can enjoy talking about where is the importance, we put the importance to put a beautiful chandelier that for me, I don’t really, as a client, I don’t see the value for this, or this is for me this small, small little touch point that’s going to make my experience memorable.

Dhiren 20:24
Absolutely. And not to try to do too many things at one time. If you are like you said,

Ghizlane 20:27
Of course

Dhiren 20:28
A cigar joint and like you said the small touches have a good cigar ashtray have a comfortable place to smoke a cigar but not try to then be a family place at the same time. a five star I mean, you know what I mean? Like you don’t have you have too many things.

Ghizlane 20:40
Now, because it is clear from the beginning. That’s reason why they have old concept when they open they have the concept guide and the target market and have to be very clear. And this is go back to basic as you said for any type of business, you starting a business. Number one is target market. Now it does not mean that we will not evaluate and change our target market. But as far as we have already, then we have to also change our offering. We need to also adapt to our target market.

Dhiren 21:08
Innovate, yes, reassess every few years think that if you need to change then you can change with have that idea in mind that you need to reassess the situation every few years.

Ghizlane 21:18
Exactly. Yes.

Dhiren 21:20
I want to ask you, when you started table and beyond Did you get to meet a lot of business owners who didn’t know what their target market was.

Ghizlane 21:26
Many, many are surprisingly, really many friends actually starting the business and just trying even they’re here and there wasting a lot of time. And here we have you know, the ratio of ATM twins percent percent of the business come from 20%. So we want to try to develop the client. So do you want to spend all your time running behind people who are actually not gonna value and not give you the value? No, as a business owner, we have a lot on our shoulders, for sure to manage to bring business. But at the end, the most important point actually is being the business. Because if you don’t bring the business, then your company will not succeed. So here is to sit and think properly, where you should be going to get that business from. Then after that we have your team, we can segregate them, depending on other markets or other clients. The most important is to be yourself behind the business you to sit behind, you know the office and just I mean, it does not work. You have to be out there. This is my message for everyone.

Dhiren 22:38
Absolutely. And when you get to see a client who comes to you who’s starting a new restaurant, and they’re selecting all of this great tableware, great chairs, do you actually ask them who their niches and they actually have an answer.

Ghizlane 22:49
Some they do. We ask them for example, what’s the average check? What’s the competitor, the chef has a lot to say as well any type of food that you will be preparing. We also ask like, what kind of restaurant is nearby? There is different station point that has to be there. But I would say that about 60% of clients, they will not know in retail.

Dhiren 23:11
Wow! 60%.

Ghizlane 23:13
Yes, who is going to come to your restaurant and why do is going to come? We need to understand that. Because then we can help you through the products and the shipping and everything.

Dhiren 23:23
Because like as you said, If you know who you’re serving, then you can start to shop for that target market.

Ghizlane 23:28
This is where do you see whether the concept has properly been worked? You know, it’s not an easy thing to just open a restaurant and run it. A lot of people think it’s easy. It’s not it’s a really a science. And that’s reason why there are people who are specialized in building concepts by example, in managing the operation. It’s it’s not that one plus one equal to no. It’s often engineering no, it has a lot to do with psychology. Even for example, the way how we write the menu which what’s the way you’re going to write it what’s the important meals will be in the middle? You know, the eye has the way to look,what are the important meal that you want to make more money in the sale is menu engineering by itself. It’s a complete the, you know course to understand. So people are going to the venture of restaurant. Okay, so food and you know, I’m going to cook and have a good chef and that’s it. No, which are very important. Yes, this is very important, but the whole offering around it. The concept itself has to be completed.

Dhiren 24:33
You know, on a similar topic, what you’re talking about, I get we also get a lot of customers who want the shiniest POS system who want the iPad menu systems. And very similar to what you said. I also wanted to add that not every restaurant should have an iPad menu. Not every restaurant should have a quick serve POS. It all depends on again, that target market who you’re serving, what kind of client you’re expecting. That makes a big difference.

Ghizlane 24:56
Of course.

Dhiren 24:59
I want to ask you this later. What’s the second thing that you see a lot of restaurant does do wrong when they start a restaurant.

Ghizlane 25:04
The employees, they bring the employee and they don’t get them trained. I know a restaurant to open and they hire the thing a week before often, it’s not possible, we need to have to make sure that everything works, you need to know that, you know, your team is properly trained, they have to base on the menu. So they can talk about it to clients, when when they come in, make sure that the trial run has to be properly done, because if this is not done properly, and then you have them when people come and then not happy, then they will not come back again, to bring in the team one month, two months in advance, to make them training, it could be that for him, he will look at the cost. But actually, in the long run. And in the proper operational point of view, this is going to be the winner case, because you will have your proper team or know how to handle the situation and how to handle the operation. So this is what in my perspective, the second error I have seen their clients call at the last minute, they want to do everything, but really, they will have one month before the opening. And they pressurize us for everything. And then my question is, do you have already seen? Can we come and see the play? No, no, everything is going to be you know, in the next two weeks? Like, how? is that possible?

Dhiren 26:24
Yes, because we tend to put ourselves in these imaginary boxes, oh, my lease starting or my contract is about to expire or whatever. You know, I have to get started there is this urgency. And like you rightly said, you have to question that urgency and see if it works in the long run. And the other thing that I picked up that you said earlier, which is very true. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers that Pareto rule. And a lot of restaurant is they focus on the new business. But if they can get the same customers to come back, which is obviously done by good hospitality, there is your money, that’s your money, but not the new business,

Ghizlane 26:57
Because you want to retain the customers. And in my example that I gave you about research, which is a must to go, the food is not amazing. Like, I mean, myself and my husband, we don’t really, I mean, okay, the food is nice, but it’s not something that somewhere where I want to go every week, but it’s just for my kids, they are just having that lovely, happy moment, which I can take away from them.

Dhiren 27:19
The best part is the restaurant has figured that out, they know that we are trying to bring the kids back in because the kids will come back,

Ghizlane 27:26
Believe me, they’re very smart. And I spoke to the owner, I told him, I said really plus on you. And he was very happy as I salute you for this. Because, you know, to see people opening small restaurant and thinking like this, that means really they have a vision, which is really nice.

Dhiren 27:44
Because then I also want to ask you, we’ve talked about the top two mistakes that a restaurant makes when they’re opening a new restaurant, what do you think, a someone can do today, they’re already running a restaurant, so they know the customer, everything is good. But a lot of restaurants today will say, Well, I’m not doing enough business. Is it the same reason? Or do you think there is something else that can help a restaurant or today,

Ghizlane 28:03
You’re not getting the business, then they should be something that is not right.

Ghizlane 28:07
So you have to see it from somebody else perspective. You look at it from a certain window. When you bring in somebody else in the business when he’s outside of the business, they will see it from another perspective. And that’s can help you to open your eyes in areas which you have not seen before. So bringing somebody from outside has nothing to do with your company, do a proper mystery survey. Of course, here the marketing like today we are living in a social media world. Are you properly you know, doing your social media? Are you properly doing the advertising to bring in the people who have somebody to come and do a proper audit of the customer survey, but as well as your back end, maybe you’re buying your product or you’re buying the food at very high price, they will be always an indicator for here. My suggestion always bring somebody from outside, but nothing to do with your business. Because these are the people who are able to save and have a very neutral view to your business and give you their opinion. Because as business owner, we will always have close the eyes on certain things we know they are not right. We close the eyes, but to hear it from somebody else. Nothing to do with your business. A big difference.

Dhiren 29:21
Absolutely agreed. And again, like you said, looking at from a different perspective can change the equation. I think a lot of restaurant owners also the secret in this market. I think the secret is shisha and alcohol. I speak to a lot of restaurant owners. They say oh, I’m not doing business today. But if I bring shisha and alocohol, I will do business. I don’t necessarily think that’s true. But I wanted to hear your opinion is shisha and alcohol, the magic answer to everything you think.

Ghizlane 29:44
To drink alcohol, by itself. It’s an entire headache to manage to make sure that they are no you know, it’s much more complicated because the waste and alcohol is high and the loss in alcohol is very high. So what are the steps that you have done as a business owner to decide to bring in something like this that you think will bring it to business? What are the elements that have pushed you towards this? Is it your client is just listening to others? The secret is not at all. I don’t believe that it is the only way.

Dhiren 30:15
And I want to talk about I wanna bring Table and Beyond back into this conversation in terms of when someone comes to help select what are some of the key ingredients to success from a tableware from a linen perspective, Chinaware what would you recommend as something that customers should keep in mind when they’re shopping for these items?

Ghizlane 30:33
You know, just try not to overdo things to keep things simple, not too complicated as well. You got to return today and evening, you may be handed plates, you know, just make it relax, you know, for the team as well to serve to make it simple. That’s what I want to say don’t make it too complicated. not try to overdo the thing, because then it’s becoming too much operation-wise, like sometimes listen for 50 seats, for example, they come with a very big group of equipment. And like the first thing I asked them, What is your story? You guys have a storage for handling this? They don’t. So here is learn down again, what’s the importance? simplicity? Very much. Understanding your clients. Yes. And making things say simple as much as possible. Because buying so much equipment is often not enough is also not good, depending on the operation. And yeah, so it’s case to case basis visit with client and really go into depth about this point.

Dhiren 31:31
You know what you just talked about 100 plates reminded me there are a few restaurants where we’ve gone to my wife and I and we see that they bring these fancy trucks and telephone booths to create a nicer experience. But I don’t know if that is always the case. And like you said, maybe keeping it simple, sometimes can be the trickiest. Rather than investing so much money in all of that. Just keep it simple.

Ghizlane 31:50
Exactly,exactly. And today, for example, to have a tablet as menu, okay, for me as a customer, is it really required to have a tablet, who cost me maybe 1/3, the price to have the simple menu, wisdom. So all these touch points, we have to do some kind of auditing. This is how companies are doing better, because they always audit themselves. They see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. And it’s fine to do something wrong, because at the end, everybody is learning and we all have to evolve, depending on the client’s needs. So here is constantly to have this winning become like the auditing part, from third party from and check operations like this, that will really help any business owner to make the right decision. And, of course, to be there behind as a business owner needed to see that things really happen the way you want.

Dhiren 32:48
I like that what you just said, it’s okay to be wrong. I think a lot of restaurant owners put themselves under pressure to say, I have to open the best is not the best in the first shot, it becomes very risky for them to fix their mistakes, because they put themselves under some sort of pressure. But like you said, it’s okay to be wrong. I think that’s so true.

Ghizlane 33:05
Yeah, and today, you know, thankfully and manually, we have really easy situation with retail where people don’t have this burden of rent, high rents. So it’s true that before it was very stressful, as a business owner, you have bills to pay that are fixed, and the fixed bills were very high. So it won’t give you the peace to really focus on other things thats real when you are working on your project PnL and starting up the business, you really have to put aside that two years or one year, yeah, I would say two years, you’re not going to make money, you just in the worst case scenario. And thankfully, today, as I said, this has eased a bit because people don’t have the burden of the rain. So they can focus somehow a bit more on other things.

Dhiren 33:52
100 % and I’m just going to summarize five secrets to the art of hospitality because I thought these are amazing into someone who’s listening if they have not kept notes. The first one is know your target, know your niche. Number two is be there be in the restaurant be on the ground, don’t just delegate and as they say delegate don’t abdicate. The third one is give yourself time don’t open in a rush. Don’t put yourself under these pressures, pressure situation that I have to open I get my staff last minute. Yeah. The other thing that you said which is really something that I thought was important was keep it simple. And the last one that I want to pick up on and I want to highlight is it’s okay to be wrong. Give yourself the room to fail gracefully. Yeah. Do you want to add anything else to that list?

Ghizlane 34:36
No. I believe we have covered everything. Yeah.

Dhiren 34:40
I would also ask you usually now you because you mentioned COVID earlier, I wanted to get your opinion on what the trend is today in terms of what is the future of hospitality you think in this market and generally,

Ghizlane 34:50
You know, people cannot stay forever closed and sitting at home. hHman being is basically needs this communication and aLive you know the like. So it is a difficult time, which I believe it’s going and it’s passing, we are very thankful in your Eid to have really a great management of the pandemic that allow us today to go out wherever we want, whenever we want, enjoy going dining hotels things are actually doing good restaurants also doing good. So I don’t feel that we are still in this, you know, issue of pandemic and we feel it. I mean, I’m talking about three, because at some other markets are more touch than others. But I see any, we are very blessed, because people are still going out there not traveling. So they are spending more money. People, for example, spending on their homes, refurbishment. So this is like.

Dhiren 34:50
All good indicators.

Ghizlane 35:04
Yes, it’s a good indicators. And I mean, personally, whenever I go out, I see that sounds cool. Now I don’t know exactly the percentage who is doing right, which area this is for sure. Like they are like DCTM, most probably they have the proper figure. But what I see myself whenever I go out, this is our code. And if you remember the Eid holiday, most of hotel go pack. So let us look at everything in a positive way this year is promising. We have a beautiful event that is getting organized for the Expo and everyone is really really welcome the word, as we say the way is really to welcome the word. And I’m really excited and looking forward for this event. Personally,

Dhiren 36:33
I want to ask you, because you mentioned Expo and you mentioned offline as well, when we were chatting before we started recording that things are gearing up for Expo I would ask you, are there any tips that you can give to a restaurant to prepare for Expo? What do you see people are doing? And what do you think they should be focusing on?

Ghizlane 36:50
I have realized actually that it’s a lot to do the emphasize for the expert is a lot to do with the environment. Everything has to be eco friendly, terms of anything that’s going to be reading the exhibition has to be eco friendly. There are a lot of catering companies, as a business owner today, look at Expo as an opportunity and see how can I support them to make this event successful, even though like pavilions, they won’t have the full facility to cook, welcome properly, all the visitors without support from outside. So here, it’s fine bereans and make the connection with the extra management to find a way how to support because I believe everyone needs to put the hand in that it was an important event for everyone living in companies with possibility to make it happen. There’s so many ecosystems around, that’s going to work in order to make it a successful event. And think about the number of delegation, think about the number of tourists that they will come after almost three years of not traveling, people are going to be like really so thirsty for life. And so this key to visiting new things, because apart from the Expo, people will stay outside and they will want us to possess it up. We have a beautiful place is gonna be the nice weather. People will, you know want to excursions, whether in the desert or so here. Think about it as really an opportunity. What can I help? What can I add to this event to make it more?

Dhiren 38:25
I love it. I love that. That is a really nice way to look at it. Thank you for sharing, keeping an eye on the time we’ve been chatting for some time. Ghizlen, I want to ask you three questions. One thing that the last one before we move into entrepreneurship thing is delivery. I hear a lot of restaurant owners talk about delivery, paying money to Zomato pay money to Talabat I wanted to hear your thoughts. As someone who services this industry more closely. What are your thoughts on delivery? Is it again, the magic touch, I just want to hear your thoughts.

Ghizlane 38:54
It’s another revenue stream. Of course, it’s like you say today you are opening a business and you cannot have a website. It’s not possible. This is now part of before restaurant, we’re also doing delivery but they were doing directly which was creating an extra burden of a fixed costs to have somebody doing delivery. Now this company have been smart to make this solution as a fee, which is fine, because this is still bringing new revenue stream labs creating a problem for you as the restaurant, then why not? We have the luxury really today you are sitting at home you can order 45 different types of food, then in which country you can do something like this, like you would literally sit and think which kind of food do you want to try today and then see all the list of restaurants is an amazing thanks to this technology. And of course here to sit with this platform. See how we can be in the first surge is always a way to increase. You know your return from this.

Dhiren 39:51
Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that I wanted to mention on that I remembered I put out a podcast episode some time ago. And one of the things I mentioned is maybe learn to figure out how to leverage this aspect as not even just as a channel, but I know some of the restaurants, for example, they are now doing events at home. So they will restaurant will come home, they will do an entire cook experience for you. I think these are the kinds of things that maybe some of the restaurant owners should even consider adding to their portfolio.

Ghizlane 40:15
Of course, yes, again, it’s really going back to the square one where we really think about our clients and talk to them and listen to what they need. So delivery is definitely a very important part at all denied. And no matter that is a fee, but it’s fine as far as being in business to you, for what, you know,

Dhiren 40:37
pay the fee, why not?

Ghizlane 40:38
Yeah, why not, of course, this is a service. And this is a service for you to grow your your market and grow your customers. And for you, it’s no headache at the end, because you don’t have to bring the driver you don’t have to bring all the employees you know, to handle this part. It’s really I believe it’s one of the most clever and good solution that has happened for the restaurant and FMB business, that today as your home, you can, you know, order, whatever you want, without even thinking to call the restaurant, they are picking up, they’re not picking up, you know, all this struggle that people had today, it’s not, thanks to this technology.

Dhiren 41:14
Absolutely, I always say technology is an enabler, not a cost. If you can consider technology to help you scale rather than looking at it as a cost. I think it changes the perspective, I want to ask you, because you’re on the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast and you’re an entrepreneur, what does it mean to you to be an elevated entrepreneur?

Ghizlane 41:31
In it for me, it’s sharing my experiences, I’m not shy, and I don’t have any issue to share my experiences the good one and the bad one with others. Because I believe, by this, I will help somebody else, perhaps make the right decision. And I’m also always very open to hear what others are doing. Because our life is, is a journey of, of learning is never ending. So there are some people they believe that when you are a business owner, you are looking at one corner and you don’t need to open your mind. And please, because it is me as a business owner, listen to those podcasts that can open your mind that we only see about 10% of our possibilities. So our mind has to our mindset or our awareness has to come to a certain level that we have to understand that everything is possibility everything can be in our reach as far as we really believe in it from the inside. And that is thanks to talking to people networking, meeting with the mastermind group, people who can really take you over,

Dhiren 42:38
I want to ask you, since you mentioned learning, you mentioned books, is there a book that you recommend, as an entrepreneur that everybody should read?

Ghizlane 42:45
Actually, for me, 2020 was really a book year, I’ve read so much. But one of the books that I realized was “As Man Thickens” of James Allen.

Dhiren 42:55

Ghizlane 42:56
Really, the whole book was around, explaining that every person actually hold the secret in his hand, really, to get what he wants, is just a matter of perception, it’s just a matter of inner belief, you are able to work on your thoughts on your inner thoughts, then definitely, you can change your life.

Dhiren 43:15
Absolutely the mind.

Ghizlane 43:16
This was like really from reading my book,.

Dhiren 43:19
The mind is a very powerful machine, and what you think in what you say internally, can make a lot of difference outside.

Ghizlane 43:27
Exactly. And this is not something that is an easy subject for a lot of people because it has to do a lot with childhood with some time kind of traumas that are not and never been, you know, dealt with, and which then affect their life and the way how they are with others. So you see, the learning is a never ending story for me and reading books. As I say, 2020 was really a year of talking with other business owners listening to their successes and failures as well as we can learn as well. And we think you’re nice, but that’s always behind.

Dhiren 44:03
Thank you Ghizlen you’re too kind. But I think the point here is make room for new perspectives make room to listen with an open heart open mind without judging and or opening it to quick keeping, you know, make some room in the cup to accept new things.

Ghizlane 44:16
Exactly. Very important to have your own vision. Yes, this is where you want to be for sure. But opening your mind to others and listening to what others are doing and what is their success stories and what their failure really has allowed to have the right people around you.

Dhiren 44:33
Absolutely. This is a separate conversation, we’ve actually identified episode on Masterminds. And because there is so much good that can come out of you know, four brains better than one or six being better than one. And I think there’s like you rightly said there’s a lot of power there. One last question before we wrap up this one where can people find you if they wanted to say hello and how can they find you online and offline?

Ghizlane 44:54
Online of course, social media I mean, we can go to my LinkedIn with London’s Ico and they are most welcome to visit my office and Showroom data that we will definitely put all the links in our podcast.

Dhiren 45:07
Absolutely. In our show notes, they will find all of this information.

Ghizlane 45:11
Great. Thank you very much.

Dhiren 45:12
Thank you for being on the show.

Ghizlane 45:14
Thank you. Thanks to you Dhiren for having me. And I hope that the listeners had a good time, like we had together talking about this topic, and looking for other topics. Again, together,

Dhiren 45:26
I think we could write a book here on the art of hospitality, we’ve got the six best secrets, which I think is a phenomenal thing to have.

Ghizlane 45:33
There. Right. Thank you very much.

Dhiren 45:38
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