The Big Climb: Gary Digby, Left Bank Abu Dhabi

The new outlet manager on changes for the venue

Gary Digby, outlet manager, Left Bank Abu Dhabi.
Gary Digby, outlet manager, Left Bank Abu Dhabi.

What attracted you to the position of outlet manager at Left Bank Abu Dhabi?
The kind of roles that I previously had was me tending to take over sites that needed a bit of work. A lot of bars and restaurants across the world tend to lose their way a little bit every now and then. It’s a fantastic venue, and the offer is amazing and basically I was just asked to breathe some new life into it.

What knowledge do you bring to the role?
I was based in London in the UK, and have over 15 years of hospitality experience. I was the manager of the busiest TGI Fridays in the world (Leicester Square in London), and my last position was as an area manager overseeing 10 hospitality sites across the UK and France. I have freelanced as a trouble shooter for bars and restaurants.

What are you most looking forward to as part of this new role?
I’m looking forward to re-creating it to be a fantastic lounge during the day with a fantastic music offering in the evening.

How do you intend to make the outlet more profitable?
We looked at what was missing here, and listened to our customers. Many people were open and let us know what they felt. Rather than overcomplicating things, we have made it simpler. The key for all bars or restaurants is to make it simple, make it great, and have great people and it always works. From when I joined in March, our sales have grown by nearly 100%, which is fantastic.

What is your favourite thing about Left Bank Abu Dhabi?
My favourite thing about Left Bank is its diversity: from being a great lounge bar with amazing food to a late night venue with fantastic music in the evening.

Are there any exciting changes that you will be making to the restaurant that you can tell us about?
We’ve already made a few changes; we have created five different nights per week, which caters to all tastes across the board. We have also negotiated a strategic partnership with Decadent Entertainment, moving their events from Pearls & Caviar in the Shangri-La to Left Bank, with RetroFlect moving to Thursday nights, and Urban Education running on Friday nights. Currently, Saturdays are quiet but we are building that up for after Ramadan. We’ve completely re-written our food menu, which is launching post-Ramadan. There is going to be a lot more selection for customers.

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