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Five Minutes With.. Seehal Shah, CEO, GQ Bar & Vogue Cafe

Five Minutes With.. Seehal Shah, CEO, GQ Bar & Vogue Cafe

GQ Bar and Vogue Cafe owner Inspired Global plans to bring an additional Vogue Licensed outlet to the region this year, according to CEO, Seehal Shah.

How would you describe 2014 for Inspired Global’s brands (GQ Bar & Vogue Cafe) in the region?

Both venues have been on the up and up, with each one coming out with great service propositions suited to a wide selective clientele. Vogue Café, which opened in 2013, has become an established mainstay in the Level Shoe District of Dubai Mall, giving shoppers the opportunity to relax and enjoy great service in an elegant and comfortable environment. Fashion bloggers have made it their regular stop, from which they regularly tag and document trends.

GQ Bar, which opened at the beginning of the year, after experimentation and innovation, came out with some unique concepts that have found a firm foothold in the Dubai restaurant and lifestyle scene. One of the best examples of this is our cocktail selection and the effort that goes in to its making. The bar team has been working hard to bring Dubai’s cocktail scene up to par with the major metros like London, New York, Paris and Tokyo, and have come up with some absolutely unique and appealing concoctions that have set people talking. Additionally, the restaurant has received significant appreciation for it’s contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, constantly changing to adapt to the seasonal availability of produce. This, combined with the style of music played during the evening makes GQ Bar a unique destination for quality minded customers seeking that ultra lounge dining experience.

Apart from this, it’s also becoming a much sought-after venue for private events, launches, birthdays and the like. We recently hosted the IPTL official launch party attended by World Nr. 1 Tennis player, Novak Djokovic, Boris Becker, Marin Cilic and other stars with Varoin Marwah’s ‘Ode to the Grey Goose’ fashion show. Offering our regular clientele a unique chance to rub shoulders with celebrities.

What are your expectations for Inspired Global and it’s brands GQ Bar & Vogue Cafe in 2015?

Much like the parent brands themselves, both venues are always at the forefront of the lifestyle industry. GQ Bar will be venturing a lot more into art and lifestyle events. You’ll be able to see the events and immediately identify them with the magazine. They’ll also be bringing back – by popular demand – their business lunches, which had received rave reviews when they had them going on. Vogue Café is also taking things a step further, which you will have to wait and see as I would not like to prematurely disclose the team’s efforts before they are ready.

Are you planning more magazine branded or other venues in the region? Other branches for GQ Bar & Vogue Cafe?

We are indeed. We plan to open a Vogue Licensed outlet within 2015, which shall incorporate a restaurant as well as a bar/lounge area allowing our Vogue customers to enjoy their experience in a very relaxed manner. Like the magazine, it shall encompass everything fashion and lifestyle where our customers shall feel that they are within the magazine within.

Of course the aspiration is to expand into the wider region and we are currently undergoing our diligence process to see where and when would be the ideal locations to look into this. The entire GCC is an incredibly attractive market for branded outlets and we believe especially attractive for Condé Nast Restaurants too.

How do you expect 2015 to be for Dubai’s F&B scene in particular?

2014 was quite an interesting year for the industry with a lot of branded and established as well as non-branded venues opening their doors and doing great business. 2015, looks quite set to be more of the same, with quite a few new establishments slated to launch soon with unique concepts and offerings. After all that’s what Dubai in the 20th century has always been about. However, it’s not only about the brand. The focus will have to be on quality of service and while innovation is key, it’s not the definition for long-term success.

What’s your leadership style?

I have always tried to run all my companies with a similar mentality and the most important to me is delegation. We employ a wonderful host of employees that are incredibly talented and creative in what they do, it is so vital to me that this is showcased. In this industry and other industries we are involved in, it is the combination of different peoples skills that builds the uniqueness of any place or business, it is to me the definition of what brings people back. I am incredibly proud of each and every one of my guys and I am glad that we have such amazing talent within. Allowing them to have a say, allowing them to get involved is the most important thing to me as they have the interactivity on a daily basis with the customers and that is what allows you to succeed ultimately.

Define success in five words..

Answering this question is different for every person I guess, but the first word I would use is joy (happiness). If you are truly happy with what you’re doing, you go to work with a smile on your face and leave with a smile on your face, you have succeeded. Without happiness, you’ll never be successful, as profitable as you are.

Being able to ‘balance’ your life, your work and your role. There needs to be a straightforward balance to all aspects else that first word will never be there.

Are you making a difference? Effectiveness would be my third word to success. The smallest amount of difference you are making to you, your employees, your customers or anybody else makes you a successful person.

Integrity. I know it sounds clichéd but you are never truly successful if integrity isn’t at the top of your list.

Perseverance. You’ve got to keep pushing and pushing at it and constantly believing in one’s own dream, this is the only way to surmount any obstacle that may come my way.

Three tips for becoming the boss..

I think the first thing and the simplest in a way is want it. From a young age, I had always wanted to have my own companies and work as my own boss. But I knew I needed to understand a few things. You’re always at work. A hit on your company bottom line is a hit on you directly. You have to be fully aware of the responsibility you carry, regardless how small or large, maintain your stress! But the main thing is, enjoy it and that will filter down.

When I’m not at work I like to..

Be with my family and friends. Our family has always been close and so whenever I get to see them I do. My brother and his family have just moved here from the UK and its probably the happiest I have ever been. In terms of what I like to do is obviously go and taste the competition, there are some great restaurants here! I also enjoy to travel, whenever my Sharina and I can, we tend to get out and see the world!

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