New recruit: Nabiel El-Nakib, W Hotel Abu Dhabi - Yas Island
Executive assistant manager B&F at W Hotel Abu Dhabi - Yas Island Nabiel El-Nakib has big plans for the culinary offering at one of the UAE capital’s landmark properties
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
I wish the reason could be that my family owned a restaurant or that I really wanted to care for people, but the truth is that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was 18. The main inspiration to work in hospitality, at that time, was the opportunity to travel and be in an industry that could be truly global. So I attended hotel school, went on to my ﬁ rst internship and since then I have been fortunate to build a career in various markets, in a sector that I am very passionate about.
How has your previous experience led you to where you are today?
Food and beverage, as a discipline within hospitality, is very diverse and I have had the opportunity to work in various environments from resorts, corporate hotels to a Michelin-starred pub. The diff erent opportunities have enabled me to be more culturally aware and to have a ﬂ exible mindset. Being able to build relationships with diff erent nationalities, and being able to adapt quickly to the countries I have worked in, have inspired me to continue growing in the industry and having the courage to take on new challenges in order to develop.
What are the key skills you possess that make you well-suited to this role?
The key skills I believe to be important for this role are to be able to work as a team, have team building and management skills, and a passion for
developing people. It is also important to be open-minded and adaptable, this industry is ever changing with new trends and it’s important to be able to adapt quickly and to be able to handle the pressure.
How do the other markets compare to your current role?
Working in diff erent markets I have experienced many cultures and unique operational styles. When I worked in North America, I was in a corporate hotel and I believe it inﬂ uenced the style of operation as well. The staff were regimented, more time-oriented and they had their distinct work habits. However, working in the UAE, you deal with so many diff erent cultures, you have to be ﬂ exible, have the ability to read people, and adapt your communication style. In England, when I was working at the Michelin star pub, the team was young, so I almost took on a fatherly ﬁ gure, which again was very diff erent to my previous hospitality experiences.
What are some challenges you foresee?
There is a lot of demand in Abu Dhabi and the UAE in terms of food and beverage. Restaurants and bars very quickly gain popularity and very quickly decline, and change concepts at a rapid pace. W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island has a unique off ering and that’s where I believe we have the opportunity to deliver an experience like no other. W Hotels, as a brand, pushes the boundaries, is forward thinking in anticipating the guests’ expectations and I am excited to bring this ethos to Abu Dhabi.
What would say are a few of your most significant accomplishments so far?
Becoming a food and beverage director. This had always been a goal from the beginning of my career. Secondly, receiving a Michelin star at the pub, The Hind’s Head. When we received it, as a team and as a venue, I really understood the accomplishment due to the environment of being a free-standing restaurant. I am also extremely proud of the opening of Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai.
Name three of your favourite aspects of your new hotel.
The building itself. Every day when I’m driving to work, I look up and marvel at its iconic design and unique location on top of a race track. The hotel has completely transformed in the last eight months and the new restaurant Garage, is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. It has a bold, striking and intricate design, and every day I’m learning more and more about the design narrative of the outlet. Lastly, the hotel’s new lobby area with a functioning roastery.
Describe any new initiatives that you are planning to introduce.
I would like to introduce activations at the new outlets, like sunset hours at W Lounge and the Garage brunch in February. My main aim is to develop our associates and stay focused on training, to ensure we deliver the best guest experience.
- A short term goal is to achieve a good opening at W Abu Dhabi- Yas Island and that two years from now, the outlets are run successfully with busy nights, great atmosphere and vibe. Financial success is an important aspect and also that the concepts are well talked about.
- Another short term goal is that the team feels proud of what they have achieved after the conversion. They can be proud of the concepts, and feel that they have learned and grown from their experiences.
- I also have the goal of being able to be part of designing my own food and beverage concepts for a future restaurant and see them develop from start to ﬁnish.
- In 20 years, I would like to be able to look back at one of my “students” to see them grow become a B&F director just as it was my goal, to become one.
- A long term goal is to become a general manager of a lifestyle property or W Hotel. Preferably in the USA, I have lived there for eight years and I always have an urge to go back.