Interview With Gary Blade

Continuous Improvement is Key To Sucess

Gary Blade, owner of Star of Asia and newly opened Raffles, believes a keen eye for detail and continuous improvements are important ingredients for his success.

We caught up with Gary at his new bar Raffles in the Apolo Center in Los Cristianos, where we discussed how he´s working hard to beat the gloomy mood in Tenerife business life.

Gary, tell us what you believe has been key to your success.

When I travel I always look for new ideas and I try to adapt them for my businesses here in Tenerife. I’ve travelled around the world, and I take the best ideas and use them. For instance, in one of my bars I took the idea from the Far East that we should serve guests around the pool. One of the waiters would take a drinks cart around and make cocktails on the spot for guests. Our sales increased significantly as this became an experience for the guests, and because we actively asked guests if they wanted drinks rather than sit back and wait for them to come to us.

So I try a lot of ideas. If they fail to work I scrap them, and if they work I continue to improve them.

My other big tip is attention to detail, especially in the way your service is presented. For instance, at Star of Asia a sorbet is served between each course to cleanse the palate. Without the sorbet the flavours interfere with each other and you just don’t get same dining experience. Although not everyone appreciates it, it’s a very important part of the overall service.

Many business owners complain about how bad business is at the moment – do you agree?

Not at all. It’s harder than it was just a few years ago, definitely, but it’s still possible to be very profitable. You have to work harder, and work smarter. After all, it’s not rocket science.

Also, I would advice bar owners to stop concentrating on a single group of people, such as just catering to the Brits. The visitors are increasingly coming from other countries, especially Russia, and being able to service all nationalities can make a huge difference to your revenues.

It’s all about your ability to change what you are doing. If it doesn’t work, change it. When it works, make it better.

Any final advice?

You need to reinvest into your business, and keep improving it. This also means spending money on paint and make it nice and fresh! Be flexible and keep a step ahead of your customers and competitors.

Finally, the customers are changing. People are still willing to spend money, but they want top quality service for it. You can’t get away anymore with poor service and poor quality. If you’re at the top of your game, you’ll end up with their money instead of one of your competitors.

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