Leading the Middle East’s Innovative Hospitality Industry – Rabih Fakhreddine

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Leading the Middle East’s Innovative Hospitality Industry – Rabih Fakhreddine

We got a chance to interview Rabih Fakhreddine, CEO and Founder of 7 Management. He is a creative leader who never fails to show up with out-of-the-box ideas and is leading in the Middle East. With exceptional culinary skills and a passion for creating new ideas and experiences, Rabih started his career journey in the corporate industry in 2015. The exceptional journey is still going on. Learn more about his ideas and works through our interview below.

How did you start your entrepreneurship journey?

Growing up, I spent a lot of time tinkering in the kitchen. Cooking left me feeling a great amount of happiness. Then, as a university student, I was actively involved in numerous social activities and student clubs. Then, I began putting money aside to invest in different restaurants and concepts. A few years following my graduation from the American University of Beirut, I took the first major step of my entrepreneurship journey. I opened my first ever concept, Faces, in 2012, and more concepts followed. In 2015, I quit my job and started my own company, and this is how 7 Management came to be.

What would be your advice for beginners?

Having a handle on a customer’s needs comes at the top of all priorities. Customers remain at the heart of our business, what we do and how we do it. Secondly, it is crucial to understand the competition. This means not just keeping an eye on what they are doing but truly grasping their approach in order to create a brand that stands out. Such a brand must have a story behind it.

The venue should be given a well-formed identity, meaning, and values. An emotional connection to a venue’s guests will tremendously boost business.

Naturally, it is not a one-man show. Investing in a strong team, from managers to waiters to marketers, is a pivotal key to success. Being down to earth and treating the team well sends the business high-flying, both on an operational level and in relation to growth potential.

How would you describe your leadership style?

A motto I have in life is that “True leaders create other leaders, not followers”. My strategy is to believe in my team and empower colleagues rather than merely give orders to yes people. My ideas will never come to life if I don’t have an empowered team that collectively believes in the vision and dreams of 7 Management.

I like to be in discussions with all departments, be it operations, finance, or marketing. Each and every one of them is part of the puzzle, and a leader must not get out of touch with any aspect of the business.

A leader ought to be humble, listen to team members with arms wide open, and constantly discuss the organization’s challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. A pat on the back and a kind word is a necessity, especially with such a busy operation with its nonstop duties, launches, and expansion plans.

Listening to people is a steady practice because, at the end of the day, our group is one that tends to people’s needs. I personally go to my venues among the rows of consumers where I observe the ongoings and return with honest feedback.

How do you use innovative ideas to be unique?

We are absolute lifestyle trendsetters! We are proud to be both local and regional trendsetters that many people and organizations look up to, and we intend to remain that way. In order to stay unique today, you need to always deliver new innovative concepts while staying relevant to meet consumers’ needs in the long run. As a Founder & CEO of 7 Management, creativity and innovation are constant companions.

You are active as a leader in multiple companies. What are your goals through your companies?

Our main goal is to enter our venues and see people smiling, have a marvellous time, and create amazing memories. All the hard work is worth it for such happy moments.

Another thing I ensure as a leader is having a healthy culture within an organization for the team to be comfortably innovating. I feel great pride in my team and what they have created, especially when I randomly hear people talking about 7 Management and our brands, not in one city, not in one country, but across the region.

And, of course, the goal is to see to the continuation and flourishing of imaginative and novel ideas. The target is to keep the companies regional and international trendsetters.

What do you believe is the most crucial part of continuing business seamlessly?

There are several parts to the equation. The originality of the brand is a vital one. Also, the team has to be content with the work and its environment, the consumers have to be satisfied, and you have to enjoy what you do daily. I always keep in mind that each new day provides new opportunities and that something great will come knocking on my doors, and this positive outlook is mirrored in 7 Management and all its brands.

How do you motivate your team to go the extra mile?

The team is at the core of any business, and keeping the team motivated is a winning card. If you hire good people and treat them well, they will take meticulous care of your business. Each and every team member must feel that they are valued and heard.

What challenges did you face in your career so far, and how were you able to overcome them?

The biggest challenge we faced was the Covid19 pandemic. But it was also our greatest achievement. Despite all the obstacles the hospitality industry faced, we managed to emerge in 2021 with our feet firmly on the ground and heads in the clouds. We launched six brands in a span of eight months, which placed 7 Management on both regional and international radars. We recently became a big player in the market with star and most awarded venues like Lucia’s, The Theater, February 30, Café Beirut, Seven Sisters, B018 Club, Antika and Black Flamingo.

All the obstacles we face teach us, contribute to our growth and shape our journey. We will keep learning and evolving, and such accumulation of experience makes 7 Management what it is today.

Are you adapting to digital transformation? If so, how is it helping your business?

Any business that does not adapt to the digital world and adopt the rapid changes happening within it will surely fall behind. An outstanding leader would not be afraid of these developments but will embrace them and utilize them. We have adopted a lot of new technologies, which are already making a huge impact on our business profitability, from streamlining business operations, reaching new audiences, data-driven management and better insight into customer behaviours.

Where is your leadership going? What benefits are your clients getting from your company in this competitive world?

My vision since day one has been to expand the audience of my organization. This is translated into 7 Management’s widely-diversified portfolio, where you can find concepts, restaurants, beach clubs, nightclubs, and cafés, from casual dining to fine dining as well.

Ultimately, the aim is to create joyful moments and design lifestyle brands that paint smiles on countless faces, creating core memories for thousands of people.

Thus, our organization must continue leading, creating and elevating the experiences we offer to serve the tastes and requirements of so many people, especially in a super competitive environment like Dubai, which is a base for so many international and regional players. This drives me to consistently go out of my way to be unceasingly ahead of the competition and withhold our leading rank.

When describing Rabih Fakhreddine in one word, we can say that he is “Dedicated.”

According to him, the more you are dedicated to your business, the greater you can achieve and get the job done.

Connect with Rabih Fakhreddine on LinkedIn.

Find 7 Management on Linkedin, Facebook, & Instagram.

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