A Sri Lankan, Hospitality Entrepreneur, Investor, Consultant, Marketer, Trainer, and a Motivational Speaker with 20 years plus experience in the hospitality industry, Brain Joseph has worked at several world-renowned hospitality organizations including, ‘Best Western Hotels’, ‘Berjaya Hotels and Resorts’, ‘Oberoi Hotels and Resorts’ and ‘SITA Travel Group’, covering Asia and the Middle East. He also has worked with one of Asia’s oldest hotel groups called Galle Face Hotel Group, established in 1864 in Sri Lanka. Today, Brian is a successful hospitality entrepreneur. He is the founder of a few hospitality startup companies including Taprobane Hospitality, BWJ Hotels & Resorts, and Island of Ceylon Travel & Tourism Company among others. Brian is also the founder of the Sri Lankan Hospitality Professionals Association (SLHPA) and the ‘WE CARE’ Charity Foundation.
In Conversation With Brian Joseph, Founder and Managing Director, Taprobane Hospitality
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Brian Joseph, Founder & Managing Director, Taprobane Hospitality, talks about communication in the new normal and how to maintain a human touch in the restaurant set up with the help of technology.
Embracing Contactless Ways Of Living
When technology is more accessible to everyone and easy to use, it can do wonders in the hospitality industry. Brian thinks the technology that is provided in hotels and restaurants should be user-friendly and help drive customer satisfaction. The technology should also be flexible, and upgradable with new features so it can be easily adapted to changing business needs over a period of time. Brian shares an example of their system which lets customers order even in quarantine facility hotels. They provide food from the restaurant, which includes all three meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and have a certain technology platform that ensures time-bound service.
Affordable technology which is also easy to use and not complicated can make one’s establishment grow faster and in the right direction.
Building A Thriving Working Environment
Brian believes that during the pandemic, keeping staff motivated is one of the difficult tasks and also a challenging one, especially when people are getting pay cuts and also getting fired. He tends to talk to his staff individually, understanding the problems, and getting to know their needs. It is important to show that the owners care about their workers and appreciate their work and even give recognition to their efforts. “I always have an open-door policy when it comes to my staff”. Rewarding people for their achievements can motivate them to do more. The small things do affect employee morale and make them feel like they belong.
He adds, “People who work for us should feel like they are at home and not under any pressure because if they don’t work without tension, it can lead to several mistakes. As a restaurant owner, you have to show them that they are the future of the establishment and the pillars on which the hotel is built. Building a thriving working environment will automatically come if your workers are happy”.
Enabling A Sustainable Business And Giving Back To The Society
Brian talks about his experience with a three-star hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain during the pandemic when things got tricky. “One has to follow the Covid-19 safety guidelines and give proper training to the workers so that customers don’t feel that the hotel is not ready or is not taking precautions. Guests come from different parts of the world and it is the owner’s duty to make them feel safe and comfortable when they arrive at hotels”, he quotes.
With quarantine, one has to make sure that they have high-speed internet in their rooms 24X7 and all the other facilities like breakfast, dinner, and lunch to be delivered at the correct time. Brian gives an example of their hotel where they try to give the guests the food of their country and that is what makes them different from others. Post-pandemic, a business can only be sustainable if they buy supplies from local vendors, contributing to greater employment and the growth of the region’s economy.
One should always think about giving back to society and even the small things that humans do matter and have an impact on the environment. According to Brian, CSR initiatives related to environmental conservation, clean energy, and social welfare should be promoted. The owner needs to adopt modern environment-friendly technologies which save time and also work fast. Anything one does to enhance sustainability can create goodwill within the local community and contribute to a positive brand image.
A Message To Aspiring Restaurateurs
Hospitality is all about being human and not spreadsheets. If you are new to the industry, you need to make sure that you know the definition of hospitality. It can be challenging during the current times because of no human contact but it is important to continue finding ways to serve customers in a humane way. Brian concludes the insightful session by giving some advice to young entrepreneurs who wish to open their own restaurants in the future.
Make sure that you have another sustainable business revenue from the start. Most of the businesses fail because they have a great idea but no revenue to back the idea up with. Keep a list of suppliers and brokers before you think about opening a hospitality business because they are the important people who can have your back in the early stages of growth.
Watch Brian Joseph, Founder and Managing Director, Taprobane Hospitality in an exclusive F&B Talks Session With The Restaurant Times.