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Tyrone Reid: Overseeing a company that offers “something for everyone” in airport retail and hospitality

UAE. He began his working life as a Commis Chef at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland and has recently been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime & Mercantile International (MMI) & Emirates Leisure Retail (ELR) GroupTyrone Reid has built a distinguished career in the food and beverage industry spanning more than 20 years.

He has represented several well-known brands including Threshers, Millie’s Cookies, Five Guys, and worked for Alabbar Enterprises and the SSP Group. Reid also launched Shake Shack in the Middle East, Russia, the UK and Turkey and brought Time Out Market to the United Arab Emirates.

In July of this year he assumed the joint management role at MMI and ELR. The powerful retail-to-food & beverage company, controlled by the Emirates Group, has ambitious plans to expand its already well-established presence in airport retail and food & beverage.

Reid lives in Dubai with his wife and son and speaks to The Moodie Davitt Report about his life experiences and where his love of food, wine and hospitality comes from. This passion is reflected in his active membership of the UAE Restaurants Group Advisory Board and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum.

Tyrone Reid will be attending the Trinity Forum in Singapore on November 1st and 2nd.

Q&A snaps with Tyrone Reid

To growing up

I grew up in a large Irish family home in Essex, England, the youngest of eight children. I got into the kitchen from a young age as many of my family members were involved in the industry. Hospitality was at the heart of our home. People were always in the kitchen and food and drinks were being served all the time. It was an ongoing activity, so it was always in my blood.

My passion for becoming a chef developed while cooking and eating at home. As a big family we grew up cooking all our food ourselves so everything was so fresh.

At your first “real” job

After working in various hotels while attending Catering College, I moved to Scotland at the age of 18 to work at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. It was an opportunity to learn from the best and understand the importance of quality, standards and consistency. These are the things I carry with me today.

to family

I am fortunate to have such a close, supportive family. I am married to my wife Kerry and my son will be 17 soon. We all enjoy travel, food and drink and are a true foodie family.

Sports Shack, ELR’s newly opened domestic concept at Dubai International Airport

to external interests

Three years ago I sustained a serious injury while skiing. It was the kickstart to making health, fitness and wellness a priority.

I’m an early riser, part of the 5 o’clock club. I believe in starting my day strong. I train mostly in the mornings, do some paddling, boxing and a big cycle on the weekends. That’s how I keep my balance. I’m also a Spurs (Tottenham Hotspurs) fan, like all my brothers.

The acclaimed Le Clos concept at DXB: Serving discerning passengers in search of fine luxury wines and spirits

on your big career break

I took a job at Threshers Wine Shops in the UK, which was my first multi-site job and a valuable but steep learning curve.

But my most significant career break wasn’t a job, it was the realization that I needed to educate myself to get ahead. I watched my wife complete her MBA and saw the benefits of it, so she initiated my most significant career change. I decided to do an MBA around the time my son was born; This gave me the stepping stone for my career from middle management to higher positions.

Costa has an extensive presence in all DXB terminals through ELR

About previous experiences in travel retail

I was Operations Director at Millie’s Cookies, part of SSP. We’ve had our fair share of travel retail stores in rail and airport locations across the UK.

I’ve grown Shake Shack from three stores to 30 in ten countries in three years, including one at Dubai International Airport (DXB). It has been a brilliant experience joining the company from the start and seeing it grow into a successful and recognized global brand.

What attracted you to the role as Group CEO of MMI & ELR

I feel honored and happy to be entrusted with the further development of the company and the team. MMI and ELR are such great companies and have tremendous reputations around the world and I look forward to expanding our footprint in travel retail.

We will soon be launching an innovative F&B and Duty Free experience in Terminal 3 of Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, where we have sought to create a unique airport customer experience. There’s a lot of things to come, so watch this space.

MMI and ELR are committed to delivering a “next generation world-class customer experience” at the newly built Terminal 3 in Zanzibar. The Moodie Davitt Report will provide comprehensive on-site coverage of the development.

Describe MMI and ELR in five Words

“There’s something for everyone.” What I mean is that in the two subsidiaries we cater to different passenger needs – be it a relaxed family meal with entertainment; our newly opened homegrown concept Sports Shack in DXB; or our barista coffee with Costa within ELR.

Through MMI, we serve discerning passengers in search of fine luxury wines and spirits with Le Clos. Here we pride ourselves on our knowledgeable staff who will help passengers choose the right product for themselves or as a gift.

And your bbusiness motto?

This is my mantra for business and life: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – the words of Maya Angelou, American poet, civil rights activist and world-renowned author.

Pret A Manger is one of ELR’s most successful food and beverage operations at DXB

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